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By Beth Coffey
Special to The Beacon
Recently The First Tee of Brunswick County had a chance to acknowledge the work and dedication of its corps of volunteers and to recognize a few whose contributions went “above and beyond” over this past year. “Without them,” said executive director Rebecca Albin, “we simply wouldn’t be here.”
A few weeks ago Albin and 150 volunteers and their guests gathered at TFTBC’s facility, the Golf Park at Cinghiale Creek, to give each other a well-deserved pat on the back for all that each does to positively influence the youth of Brunswick County through The First Tee’s Life Skills and golf learning experience.
During the celebration five volunteers were recognized as Volunteers of the Year for their exceptional service to children:
•Scott Caron is a volunteer of TFTBC and also the parent of Ace level participant Tyler. Caron, aka “The Commissioner,” has been the head volunteer for TFTBC’s Summer Tour for the past two years. The Summer Tour is The First Tee’s version of the FedEx Cup. Young golfers play nine of the area’s best courses for free throughout the summer, earning points and awards at the tournament-ending event.
•Jason Crawford works full-time as the superintendent for Lockwood Folly Golf Course and has been a volunteer for TFTBC since programs began in 2006. He is always willing and eager to lend his expertise and time to ensure TFTBC’s facility is in the best shape possible for its participants.
• Maryanne Graham has been a committed coach and volunteer for TFTBC for a few years. Just this year, Maryanne took on the responsibility for handling refreshments and food for the nealyr 300 students and volunteers at this year’s Champions Challenge.
•Ed Gurski is a head coach for School Day program, an assistant Birdie level coach and the TFTBC’s IT guru. He has built databases for TFTBC for special events and also for overall donor and volunteer tracking. This not only has increased productivity but also has saved TFTBC financially.
• Valerie Taylor is another volunteer parent. Her two sons, Harrison and Chandler, have been participants in the program since TFTBC’s inception and her husband, Scott, is a former TFTBC board member. She and her family have been avid volunteers since the beginning and they built the computer lab in TFTBC’s Learning Center. Valerie Taylor continues her valuable service as a member of the public relations team and The Golf Ball event committee.
TFTBC Beth Coffey planned the evening and Albin and vice chairwoman Linda Bradley were the hosts. In addition, TFTBC co-founders, Carol and Rusty Petrea, sent a videotaped message from Italy thanking the volunteers for all that they do for the kids. Another highlight of the evening occurred when June Loveless—the wife of the late Burt Loveless for whom the Volunteer of the Year Award is named—spoke about her husband and what The First Tee meant to him.