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FUNDRAISERS SHOULD BE FUN

By Columnist Bob Bridge



Otis Park Golf Course
Otis Park Golf Course


As I opened the door and hustled down the porch toward my vehicle I was bombarded by a rotund raindrop.


My eyes quickly shifted to my windshield. Sure enough, precipitation in prodigious proportions was pelting the glass.


“No!” I shouted to no one in particular. “This can’t happen! Not today.”


An eclectic ensemble was scheduled to tee off in a couple of hours in the opening round of the inaugural T-M Celebrity Classic at picturesque Otis Park Golf Course.


The idea for this event was conceived by Lynden Roberts and yours truly. We thought the concept of a makeshift pro-am tourney at our favorite golf course would be incredibly cool.


And what was our level of expertise in projects of this sort?


Well …


Now, it appeared all our pre-tournament toil would be washed away. I checked my to-do list to determine who was responsible for the weather.


Just as I figured, that task was never assigned.


However, it proved to be a moot point. By the time I completed the short drive to the course, Otis was rain-free and basking in brilliant sunshine.


Hallelujah!


Nearly all the invited celebrities, an illustrious fraternity, had showed up to team with many of my best friends to frolic on one of the finer municipal golf courses in the Midwest.


Guess what?


It was cool!


It was so much fun and so successful we did it again the next summer.


Then, Bedford Mayor John Williams summoned us to his office and asked us one pivotal question: “How would you like the city to take over the Celebrity Classic next year?”


We responded by vigorously shaking his hand and hugging him. Obviously, the workload for this entertaining and expanding event was more than two individuals could handle.


To put it mildly, our expressions of relief were readily apparent.


City officials, helped by the Parks Department and Bedford Recreation Foundation, would navigate this popular fundraiser to a lofty level we could never have imagined.


When events are terminated or transferred to other managing bodies, the initial presumption is the original idea was a failure or, at the very least, hopelessly flawed.


Not necessarily.


Sometimes, new strategies and more laborers are required. Other times, a wonderful concept has simply run its course.


Two fabulous and truly meaningful fundraisers come to mind. Teammates for Life, the annual flag football competition organized and orchestrated by Mike Fey and his family as a tribute to Robert Lee, was an immensely popular and productive charitable project.


The same was true for the annual golf gala Chuck and Ericka Hensley hosted each year to keep the memories of their young son, Devon, close to our hearts.


Both events reminded this caring community how helpful and healing these special tributes could serve in reuniting us and drawing us even more closely together.


Failure? Flawed?


Hardly.


Harboring an idea?


Please, let your voice be heard.



Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or bbbbbridge@gmail.com.

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Here’s a special tribute to my friend Mark Ripley.

He died in November or was it December.

You saw him in the 80’s and 90’s and maybe in to the 2000’s running all over town.

He was probably the hardest trainer of any athlete Lawrence County ever produced.

He trained up to 120 miles a week and won awards at races all over Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

He was very private and to some extent a loner but was friendly.

Despite having great friends like Ben Duncan, John Bruce and Reed Humes he died alone at the house in Edgewood that he lived in all of his life.

He was in the top 10 of best distance runners Lawrence County…

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