Hole-y moly! Golf-A-Thon pros tee it up to help VNA

Emily Sherwood, Beverly Smith, Lundy Fields, Kathie Pierce [Photo: Denise Ritchie]

Lightning storms curtailed some of the action but none of the enthusiasm at the 29th annual Golf-A-Thon to benefit the VNA & Hospice Foundation last Monday at the Orchid Island Golf Club, co-chaired by Robbie Saxton, Catherine Reichert and Mo Reilly.

Each year, skilled pros from local clubs donate their time to play in a day-long golf game and are joined at the end of the day by VNA board members and volunteers for a celebratory cocktail reception.

This year Rich Waage, Orchid Island director of golf, hosted fellow pros: Don Meadows, Quail Valley Golf Club; Steve Hudson, John’s Island Golf Club; Steve Lupcho, Pointe West Country Club; Matthew Challenor, Windsor Club; Andy Nelson, Riomar Country Club; Sal Spallone, Bent Pine Golf Club; Randy Hedgecock, Vero Beach Country Club; Ian Killen, Indian River Club; Joe Kern, Grand Harbor Club; Bela Nagy, Sandridge Golf Club; and Bob Gruber, The Moorings Club.

“It was great. I think everyone enjoyed it,” said Waage, crediting the success to the volunteers as well as Orchid and VNA staffers.

“Orchid is a very challenging golf course,” said Waage, describing the course, which has 17 holes with water, a lot of elevated greens and sizable distances between cart paths and tee-boxes, as “humongous.”

The day was particularly special for VNA board member and Orchid resident Carole Finck, who was the liaison between the board and the event committee.

“We held the very first one here in 1990 with four pros who played 100 holes and made $20,000. And here we are 29 years later and it’s turned into this phenomenal event,” said Finck.

“So we’re thrilled for the VNA. The Golf-A-Thon hit its banner year of funds raised, with $365,000 to date, and we have more funds coming in. Last year was $345,000. We have done really well and it all goes to a good cause. The pros love it; they have their camaraderie, but they also know this is a give-back to the community. It’s just a win-win situation all the way around.”

She said this year’s 12 pros were right on target to play 135 holes, until lightning shortened play to 89 holes. They were, however, able to get in the shootout at the end of the day, which was won by Joe Kerns. Sal Spallone took top honors otherwise with, according to Waage, well over 20 birdies and a number of skins (competitions among players).

“Everybody looks forward to this one day of the year to see these amazing pros do their thing, and the shootout is always so much fun to watch,” said Lundy Fields, VNA president/CEO.

“Collaborating as a team, we provide excellent patient care to patients and families with four things,” said Lundy, adding that VNA staff delivers care with integrity, compassion, knowledge and love. “We do all that because we want our patients to experience optimal quality of life at all times.”

Thanking Golf-A-Thon participants, donors and sponsors, he said they are only able to do that because of the collective commitment of the community.

For more information, visit vnatc.com.

Photos by: Denise Ritchie
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