Hope Harbor Home Tournament: Women helping women

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By Elsa Bonstein, Golf Gab

Irene was my best friend growing up in a small Maryland town. We spent nights at each other’s houses, went to the same youth group at church, played endless games of Monopoly and talked on the phone for hours.  
She got married and moved to Florida. I got married and moved to New Jersey.
When she was 24, Irene was stabbed to death on Christmas Eve by her husband. To make matters even worse, he did it in front of their two young children.
If Irene had had a Hope Harbor Home in her life, maybe things would have been different. Back in those days, domestic violence was not talked about much. It was a private family matter and best left to the families to manage.
Thank God for Hope Harbor Home and all the women (and men) who support the work being done in this area to combat domestic violence.  
Last week, I played in the 13th Annual Hope Harbor Home Golf Tournament, and I cannot say enough good things about it.
But first, let’s talk about Hope Harbor Home. This nonprofit organization offers shelter and services to victims of domestic violence in Brunswick County. For 24 hours a day, 356 days a year, the wonderful organization gives shelter, support groups, court and legal advocacy, housing assistance, transportation, counseling and referrals—free.
Its funding comes from a combination of government funds, foundation grants, individual and business contributions and four thrift shops.
The Hope Harbor Home Golf Tournament is their largest single fundraising activity and on Aug. 16, it netted more than $15,000.
Gina Essey is an assistant district attorney for Brunswick County in the Homicide Prevention Unit. Speaking at the tournament, she said, “This tournament is about women helping women. Domestic violence is pervasive at all levels of society. We rely of Hope Harbor Home to help victims and to stop the cycle. We really appreciate your support.”
Gina is no stranger to domestic violence. Several years ago, Gina’s cousin Heather was murdered by her fiancé.
“Each year, women are brutalized and beaten and sometimes murdered by the very people who should be protecting them,” she said. “It still hurts today when I look at family pictures taken before Heather was killed. She sits there with him, smiling. The family had no idea that there were problems in their relationship. It is very painful in retrospect.
“That is why I am so very grateful to this event and all the wonderful people who support Hope Harbor Home. Without the work that they do, there would be more Heathers. Speaking for the District Attorney’s office, I can say that this group saves lives each year. Law enforcement does not have the resources that this group provides to help women and children.”
Lynn Carlson is the director of Hope Harbor Home and she is grateful for the support golfers offer to the abused women and children through the annual tournament.
“Because of you, we can help dozens of desperate families each year,” she said. “A woman will come to us with her children, sometimes by bus. The person that should be loving and protecting her is now trying to kill her. Thanks to you, we are helping families and saving lives each year.”   
Peggy Rowland is a member of the board of directors of Hope Harbor Home and is its fundraising chair.
“The auction at this year’s tournament was the biggest in the history of the event and the total earnings are one of the best ever,” she said. “The staff at Cape Fear National did a great job. The food service staff got out lunch for 120 people in no time at all.
“Ron Thomasson (director of golf), Brad Walker (marketing director), Adam Clark (head golf professional) and Vicky Bishop (executive chef) all worked hard to make the tournament a success.”
The Hope Harbor Home Tournament is played each year as a team event. Each golf course sends a team of 12 players. They are partnered into six teams and play a better ball net. Five team scores are counted. One is dropped.
The winning team this year with a score of 324 was St. James Plantation. Team members are Sue Keily/Sue Sinclaire, Judy Harper/Lindy Dybiec, India Cofer/Frieda Allen, Fran Loesch/Maureen Morabito, Mary Jane Rose/Jen Agree, Mary Page/Nita Robertson.
Carolina National’s team came in second with a score of 328. Team members are Diane Wells/Margo Skinner, Marilyn Greenfield/Colleen Brosh, Karen Entwishtle/Mimi Benson, Marlene Borroughs/Lois Godfrey, Maggie Holcomb/Barbara Rainey, Diane Sloat/Linda Gelinas.
Meadowlands came in third with 332. Team members are Denni Maynard/Jane Glemming, Sally Manifold/Nancy Griffin, Judy Zaenglein/Billie Ellwanger, Marlene Lidgard/Pat Hamrick, Bonnie John/Mary Jane Labant, Grace Kim/Bev Ibbott.
Participating teams also included Brick Landing, Cape Fear National (two teams), Carolina Shores, Lockwood Folly, Magnolia Greens and Ocean Ridge.
Carolyn Fenton donated the large travelling trophy and the smaller individual trophies for the first tournament in 2000 and has continued her support each year. The big trophy is engraved each year and the winning team takes it to its club until the next Hope Harbor Home Tournament.
“I like to support women’s causes,” Carolyn said. “I love the game of golf but don’t have time to play right now because I work full time for Wells Fargo as a financial adviser and travel a great deal. This tournament not only raises funds, but it raises awareness of the issues that women face every day. I’m glad to be part of it.”
Also helping each year is Sunset Slush. It provides free slush at the turn for all golfers. Any tips collected by the server go directly to the tournament.
The committee for the 2012 Hope Harbor Home Tournament is Holly Cool, Debbie Craft, Beth Duvall, Marcia Easton, Susan Hammond-Ziegler, Kathy Lyman, Debbie Sorg, Donna Vignogna and Sue Williamson.
Volunteers are Chris Axelrod, Robin Berg, Joanne Blank, Larry Blank, Susie Blank, Charlotte Bryant, Jacqui Buskley, Thurston Davis, Steve Dipinto, Bill Duncan, Kris Howard, Marlene Huber, Joan Kilby, Mike Kimmerling, Tom Langan, Joanne Masino, Karen Morrison, Gisele Napolitano, Charlie Riggs, Sandie Salsbery, Gerry Sambrosky, Karen Sambrosky and Roberta Will.
Photographers were Lynn Alexander and Ron Martin.
Overall coordinator was Dianne DeGennaro.
As I played in this tournament and listened to the women speaking about Hope Harbor Home, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of joy and gratitude to the people who organized Hope Harbor Home back in 1986, to the counselors, legal experts, and volunteers who work with hurting people every day. Their outreach is great and their work is good. There is a growing incidence of elder abuse as people live longer and resources are exhausted.
If my friend Irene had had a resource like Hope Harbor Home, perhaps I’d be calling her this afternoon and chatting about our grandchildren.  
I feel that she is up there, somewhere, cheering on the work that Hope Harbor Home does.      

Golf Gab groaner
“How are your new clubs working out?” asked Harry as he joined his friend at the 19th Hole.
“Great,” said Mike. “They’ve added 30 yards to my slice.”   
Elsa Bonstein is a golf columnist for The Beacon. Reach her at elanbon@atmc.net.