A MARATHON of stories continues about the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I from July 14-20 at Highland Meadows Golf Club. Volunteers gathered for their annual aftertournament party July 23 at the Pinnacle. Over food and beverages they gabbed about the great golf they saw, but also about the events within the tournament, spectators, and volunteer experiences. Stories were fun to hear from the volunteers for the holes, scoring, caddies, golfers, communications, finance, parking, set-up and teardown, signage, ecology, grounds, tables and chairs, Pro-Ams, the gala dinner, shuttle service, and more.
It’s basically one big family affair to put on the Classic. There are people who have volunteered all 29 years and don’t see each other all year except the week of the tournament, but they pick up where they left off and team up to make the event happen. Many are so busy volunteering they don’t see much of the golf, and others see a lot if they are volunteering on the course. From nongolfers to pros, they all join together for this special week.
Special recognition was given to volunteers present that have volunteered all 29 years including Stan Odesky, Carolyn Dartt, Fran Lyons, Bob Businger, and Roy Rozell. Quietly sitting in the back of the room was Susan Brown, who with her husband, Richard, volunteered on the 14th hole. They made it a family affair and added the volunteer hours at the Marathon Classic to the total volunteer hours their family does annually. Next year’s goal is 1,000 hours. “We started when the kids were young ... now they are adults and their spouses and significant others are involved, too,” Mrs. Brown said.
Emcee Heidi Wininger, cochairman of events, who has volunteered for 20 years, welcomed everyone. Her parents, Rob and Linda Wininger, have volunteered for 28 years, and Chris Wicks, cochairman of events with Heidi, has volunteered for 28 years.
This year, there were 1,000 volunteers according to volunteer chairman Carol Gibbs, who, like many, took a week’s vacation from work to volunteer at the Marathon Classic. A volunteer for 20 years, this is the second year she was volunteer chairman. Her children are volunteers, too: Her daughter, Taylor Gibbs, who started as a runner when she was 7 and has volunteered for 14 years, was this year’s Volunteer Party event director. Director of communications is Mrs. Gibbs’ son, Dylan Gibbs, who has volunteered for five years.
Mrs. Gibbs said the volunteer crew did a remarkable job this year, as usual, but it would be great to not have everyone work so many hours. Many volunteers were there from sunup to sundown all week, Mrs. Gibbs said. “If every one of the 750 people in the room recruited just one volunteer for next year, we could reduce the long hours.” Judd Silverman, tournament director, thanked everyone for their time and effort. He said the support from sponsors was fantastic and the event could not succeed without that support, but “It was the volunteers that did it,” giving up vacations, and responsibly working their hours as volunteers.
Also working long hours with a great attitude were interns Tyler Carmony, AJ Mitchell, and Max Perry — interns who worked with the staff have the greatest attitudes as they work tirelessly, said Mr. Silverman. Some people volunteered 70 hours for the week. Mr. Silverman said Marathon truly cares about this event. It is helping increase the dollars to charities and attendance and suggestions are always welcome for enticing more spectators. This year’s goal of $500,000 for charities will be surpassed, but totals are not in yet.
“All indications are that we will reach our budgeted goal of $500,000,” Judd said. New this year were free admission for local military and firefighters, a Kids Zone, and a 14th hole party.
“We moved the tees up on the 9th hole on Saturday thanks to Scott Saunders, chairman of operations. Next year the tees will be moved up on the 9th hole on Sunday, the final day,” Mr. Silverman added.
All three sponsors — Marathon, owens Corning, and O-I — are back for next year’s tournament, July 13- 19, following the Women’s U.S. Open in Pennsylvania, which makes it easier for the golfers. The 2015 purse will be $1.5 million and the tournament will be on the Golf Channel all four days again in 2015.
In addition to general chairman Jim Hoffman, Classic volunteer chairmen included Alex Coressel, Becky Brott, Joe Dietrich, Jeff Easton, Curtis Farnsel, Dick Flaskamp, Crystal Jordan, Joe Kahl, Sherri Kaspar, Adam Kuffner, Dave Lick, Lee Meserve, Jerry Osswald, Karen Rose, and Crystal Threet.
Contact Blade Society Writer Barbara Hendel at 419-724-6124 or at firstname.lastname@example.org