Celeb golf tournament distributes $100K to children's charities

tbarton@beaufortgazette.comDecember 18, 2012 

Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Foundation chairman Paul A. Smith holds the shadow box created by the New York City Fire Department that contains three pieces of glass salvaged from Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack.

DELAYNA EARLEY, STAFF PHOTO

Jennifer Jenkins of the Providence Children's Center choked back tears as she mustered a thank you.

"I can't say enough about these people and what they're doing for our children," Jenkins said before a room of town dignitaries and members of the Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Foundation.

"Without things like the celebrity golf tournament, we wouldn't be able to provide child care for these families to be able work and provide for their children," Jenkins said.

The foundation distributed $100,000 raised during this year's tournament to 20 Lowcountry children's charities during a reception Tuesday night at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa.

Other beneficiaries include: All Saints Preschool, Bluffton Self Help, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry, Child Abuse Prevention Association, Children's Relief Fund, Christ Lutheran Preschool, Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse, Cross Preschool, Deep Well Children's Fund, Ella C. White Memorial Scholarship Fund, First Presbyterian Day School, Heroes on Horseback, Hope Haven of the Lowcountry, Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, Island Recreation Center, May River Montessori, St. Luke's Preschool, The Children's Center and Volunteers in Medicine Clinic.

The three-day tournament matches celebrities with amateur golfers and has raised about $4 million since 1979 to help pay for school uniforms, child care, meals, shelter, and medical needs.

"After the horrible tragedy last week in Newtown, Conn., it's nice to be doing something positive for the children of the Lowcountry," said Paul Smith, chairman of the tournament's council of trustees.

"These children don't know a bad economy from a good economy," Smith said. "All they know is need, and we're helping take care of those needs. We know what we do is vitally important."

Tournament participants play on three of the area's most acclaimed courses. Next year's tournament, which runs Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, includes the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course at Palmetto Dunes Resort, the Arnold Palmer Signature Course at Wexford Plantation, and Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort, home to the PGA Tour's RBC Heritage presented by Boeing.

A shadow box created by the New York City Fire Department containing glass salvaged from Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was also presented to the Town of Hilton Head.

9/11 first responder and FDNY firefighter Steve Rogers, who has participated in the golf tournament for more than a decade, donated the shadow box for the tournament's silent auction earlier this year.

Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, who participated in the tournament for the first time this year, paid $10,000 for the commemorative box. He donated it so the town could establish a memorial in honor of those who lost their lives during the tragedy, tournament spokeswoman Blanche Sullivan said.

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom

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