'Fun Day' for Kids Is What It's All About
Have you ever played in a charity golf tournament and wondered just how that $75 entry fee was going to benefit anybody?
Well, you can take great satisfaction in knowing that the part of the entry fee left over from paying the host course for green fees and cart rentals usually plays a vital role in helping people who are in need by providing services that they wouldn’t normally receive.
The Emil Froelich Memorial Golf Tournament, an annual event at Southern Pines Golf Club sponsored by the Elks Club, is a wonderful reminder of what these tournaments accomplish. The tournament benefits special needs children from Moore and Hoke counties and serves a cause that is heart-touching.
As one who has played in many charity events over the years, I realize the important roles they play in a community. But attending the annual “Fun Day” at the Southern Pines Elks Club on Wednesday was a real eye-opener.
I didn’t play in the Froelich Memorial last month for the first time in years, mainly because my golf game is not fit for public consumption anymore, and I really didn’t feel like listening to my teammates laughing about my ugly struggles.
So, when old friend Eli Jaksic called and invited me — OK, insisted — that I come out for “Fun Day” with the kids, I decided to do it.
Thank you, Eli. It was an unforgettable experience.
There were some 300 kids there, hauled in on school buses from Moore and Hoke counties, and they were literally having a ball. It was like a scene from a county fair, only for these kids it was obviously a highlight of their lives.
One of many volunteers working was Dee Weinmann, secretary of the Elks Lodge, and her face was shining as she watched the kids having the time of their lives.
“I’ve been doing this for six or seven years,” Dee said, “ever since my husband and I retired here from Ohio. The satisfying thing is that we’re helping everybody.
“It’s sad in a way, because so many of them don’t have opportunities. But they’re having such a good time today. You see nothing but smiles on their faces. Actually, we look forward to this day as much as the children do.”
The Elks Lodge is not just a pastime for Dee and her husband, Hans Weinmann. Hans holds the position of Exalted Ruler of the lodge, and they both devote many hours each week to the organization and its projects.
“I’m here just about every day,” Dee Weinmann said. “We serve food on Friday nights, and Hans does the cooking while I take up the money and do the cleaning up.
“As for the kids, this is exactly what the Elks are all about; this and helping veterans and wounded warriors.”
Hans Weinmann takes his position seriously and enjoys watching the kids having a blast as much as his wife does.
“This is just something we can do for the community,” he said. “It really gives us great pleasure to see the kids having such a great time. This isn’t something they get every day.
“That’s why we hold the golf tournament: to raise funds for this day. These kids need something like this.
“We have a lot of volunteers who put in a lot of hours to get it done, and it’s all done from the heart. The kids have a great time, and we get a good feeling.”
Jaksic deserves much credit for the success of the tournament. He has driven as many as 900 miles during the weeks leading up to the event, handing out brochures, securing sponsors, and collecting donations for prizes.
“Eli and his wife, Gee, are the heart and soul of this wonderful event and the committee,” Dee Weinmann said
“I do it because of what you see here today,” Jaksic said. “This is a special day in the lives of these children.”
“The proceeds from the tournament enabled the Elks to put smiles on their faces while they swam, got temporary tattoos, had their faces painted and built mini-tool boxes with the assistance of Home Depot employees from Fayetteville, jumped in the bounce house, listened and danced to the music of our D.J., interacted with our clown, petted the K-9 dogs and spoke with the Southern Pines police officers, saw how fire engines work and ended the day with a delicious lunch,” Dee Weinmann concluded.
Ever wondered what that $75 entry fee was for? Wonder no more.
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