JACKSONVILLE (FBC)—The 110 persons attending the 2012 Florida Baptist Open gathered on those fairways for a purpose other than hitting that next hole in one. They were there to help others in the times of trouble.
“We wanted to support the disaster relief ministry,” said Ronnie Barton, pastor of First Baptist Church of South Daytona Beach, who brought a team from his church to the July 20 event at Deermeadows Country Club in Jacksonville. “They do such a wonderful job in difficult situations.”
While in previous years tournament proceeds were used to refurbish and purchase disaster relief equipment, earnings from this year’s open will be used for operational expenses incurred during a disaster response, said Fritz Wilson, Florida Baptist disaster relief director.
“We do not always receive spontaneous donations in times of deployment,” he explained. “Yet we still have expenses when we send teams to any response.”
Florida Baptists disaster relief teams are serving currently in Live Oak, cleaning up from the recent flooding caused by Tropical Storm Debby. While the historic flooding received press coverage at the time, few contributions have been received for the effort, said Wilson.
This year’s tournament raised $5,000, from both registration fees and a silent auction. All tournament expenses were covered by the golfers’ fees.
A second tournament sponsored by the Northwest Coast Baptist Association and held each April in Panama City also raises money for disaster relief. In addition to the tournament’s proceeds, this year organizers were awarded a $25,000 grant from the St. Joe Community Foundation. The funds will be used to build and equip a communications and command unit for disaster relief responses.
The North Florida tournament was organized by Bob Higginbotham, a retired CSX employee and layperson at Deermeadows Baptist Church. The tournament was comprised of 27 teams representing a dozen of churches across North Florida.
The golf tournament reaches a different niche than many church events, said Higginbotham, and can be used as an outreach for inactive members and prospects.
But not all is serious, said Barton, noting the event on the links also provided “fun and fellowship.”
And of course, there were winners.
First place winners from the First Flight were Tom Brandvold, Neil McCormack, Jay Torbett and Jim Black from Deermeadows Baptist Church. Second place winners were Nathan Groff, Guy Groff, Todd Bork; and Bobby Snyder, from San Jose Baptist Church in Jacksonville;
Second Flight first place winners were David Hudson and Andrew Hudson from Fruit Cove Church in Jacksonville; Benny Davis and Rich Tillett from San Jose. Second place winners were Ned Hamil, Ali Hamil, Don Gould and Jay Debolt from Deermeadows.
Third Flight first place winners were Eddie McClelland and John Hannigan, First Baptist in Jacksonville; Archie Jackson, Hibernia in Green Cove Springs; and Albert Byrd from Holiday Hill Church in Jacksonville. Second place winners were Dennis Littleton, Fred Harich, Frank Mulero and Sam Wright, First Baptist Church in Palm Coast.
For more information about future golf tournaments contact Florida Baptist Disaster Relief and Recovery team, 800-226-8584, ext. 3121.
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