Golfing for a good cause

Thursday, July 1, 2004

The Southern Bank of Commerce American Cancer Buffalo Island Relay for Life team sponsored a golf tournament at Big Lake Country Club June 21 with all proceeds going to the September Buffalo Island Relay for Life. Bryan Kirby assisted in coordinating the tournament. Several steering committee members, Janice Edgin, Karen Wallace, Brenda Matheny, Shelia Spurlock and Debbie Kirby, were on hand to assist.

This year's tournament was dedicated to the memory of Lee Spurlock of Leachville Spurlock recently lost his battle to cancer. He and his wife, Shelia, were instrumental in starting the Buffalo Island Relay for Life in 2002.

Twenty 3-person teams participated in the tournament.

Before the tournament started, Ms. Matheny spoke to the group saying a few words on behalf of the American cancer Society Buffalo Island relay for Life Committee.

"I'm sure everyone knows about the relays. The purpose for doing them is to help raise money for cancer research and helping cancer patients. Last year we raised a little over $45,000," Matheny said. The Relay is an all night event. The survivors kick off the Relay with the first lap around the walking track. The families and friends then join in the walk. A luminary ceremony is held with candles being lit in memory of those that lost their battle to cancer and in honor of the survivors. All of the names are announced. The teams walk throughout the night.

"The event is very touching and is a special ceremony. A lot of hard work goes on before the night of the relay. Teams work for five to six months sponsoring fund-raisers such as this to help raise money. At the end when we get down to the final night for the Relay, it is all worth it to see those survivors take that firs lap around the track."

"It takes everyone, it takes people like you all who are willing to help us do our work raising money. This is all volunteer work," Matheny said.

Matheny pointed out this is the third year for the golf tournament and Mr. Spurlock was a big part of the first two years.

"He helped us with it and played in it and was always excited about it. He loved to play golf and to help raise money for the Relay for Life. Mrs. Spurlock was our Relay Chairman. She is a cancer survivor and that made it special to him.

"We did not know last year at this time that Lee would not be here with us to play in this year's Relay Golf Tournament. I know he is with us and watching over us today. Lee found out he had cancer Jan. 12 this year and he lost the battle to cancer on April 23. He will be missed not only by the Relay Teams but in the community," Matheny said.

Ms. Kirby presented a plaque to Mrs. Spurlock and grandson, Drake Brown, from the Relay Golf Tournament in memory of Mr. Spurlock.

A moment of silence was observed by participants. James Keith lit a candle in Spurlock's memory.

Brother Bobby Crabb from Westside Baptist Church of Manila closed the memorial ceremony with prayer.

This year's tournament had 12 tee box sponsors. Drawings were held for door prizes donated by area businesses.

Trophies were awarded to the first and second place teams in the Championship, A and B flights.

Winning teams were: Championship Flight - first place -- Barry Kirby, Bryan Kirby and Jeremy Murray; second place --- Terry Brewer, Mike Ashley, Clay Stewart; A Flight - first place --- Wayne Sheed, Linda Shedd and grandson, Michael Shedd; second place -- Seth Chipman, Jeremy Jackson and Rick Sparks; B Flight - first place -- Paul Stout, Robby Shaum, Derek Combs; second place -- Janice Hambrick, Murelene Walker and Janie Vines.

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