LAKE WYLIE -- Let the Illustrious Potentate come to visit and locals tend to make grand gestures -- like offering him a check big enough to buy a new car. But this check could go even further than an automobile, especially for children in need.
"We work and we do a lot of things for a lot of charities," said David Nichols, co-chairman of the April 25 Lake Wylie Classic golf tournament along with Bill Markolf and Buddy Phillips. "A lot of us have our colleges that we support, we all support the fireworks on July 4 on the lake. This is something that's really making a difference, that's touching people's lives."
Proceeds from the Lake Wylie Classic--all $20,500 of it--were presented recently to Potentate Mike Downs of the Oasis Shriners in Charlotte. The money will be used for the official philanthropy of the Shrine, the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
"It was amazing we had as good a turnout even with the financial woes the community is feeling right now," Markolf said of the tournament, adding that the recipient of the funds helped in bringing in participation. "It's all for the children."
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The success of the tournament came as a community effort, with help from numerous groups including Lake Wylie Liquor, Chip Comer and Comer Distributing and Doug Shifflett's staff at River Hills Country Club. Also honored were main individual sponsors Tom Carlisle and K.C. and Nancy Mead.
"It really moved us, and this was something that we can do through our family foundation," Nancy Mead said.
The Meads' five grandchildren served as their main reason for getting involved, K.C. Mead said, knowing that childhood disease can impact any family at any time.
"The main reason was that all the money goes to the children," he said. "If we can held extend their life and give them a chance, that's the most important thing in the world."
In 1922, Shriners Hospitals for Children began serving children and now works with conditions ranging from orthopedic problems, burns and spinal cord injuries to cleft lip and palate. All at no cost to the families of those children.
"The motto of the Shriners is strong legs running so weak legs can walk," Phillips said. "That really holds true."
The 22 hospitals, in the 87-year history of the group, are responsible for helping more than 865,000 children. The nearest hospital in Greenville will receive the funds from the Lake Wylie Classic.
That local support for a hospital serving area families should help make the Classic an annual success story. Which sounds good to Chief Rabban Wayne King, second to Potentate Downs this year who will serve as Potentate for 2010.
"Let's plan on being back here again next year," he said.
For more information on the 2010 Lake Wylie Classic, or to donate time or money, call 704-634-8883. For more on Shriners Hospitals for Children, visit shrinershq.org.