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A Classic Show of Support

It may seem incongruous at first – a day at Keswick Hall, Club & Estate to help SFGolfersUnited Way- Thomas Jefferson Area meet its mission of serving community members with the greatest need, or at the greatest risk. But that is exactly what the first annual Keswick-United Way Golf Classic, presented by State Farm Insurance and sponsored by Keswick Hall, Club & Estate was all about. It was a great day at an amazing venue in support of reaching out to those in need.

When Tom Barnes of State Farm approached us about a golf tournament, we were a little wary of how much work it would entail for our already heroic staff. But Tom and the folks at State Farm, along with Matthias Smith and the staff at Keswick, took care of everything, from sponsors to prizes to extra golf carts. We provided marketing support and helped staff the event on July 28. The opportunity to play a round of golf at Keswick meant that the teams filled up very quickly. Even the weather cooperated, with lower humidity and some cloud cover that filtered the harshest sun rays.

It is safe to say that it was a group of happy golfers--happy to be playing golf at Keswick and enjoying the hospitality there, and happy to be supporting the United Way’s work in our community.  A warm congratulations to the winning team: Tim Johnson, Mike Mills, Ronnie Durham and David Thompson.

As for our staff, Caroline Emerson was everywhere – coordinating all the details with Tom and Matthias. I had the enviable assignment to pick up the Volvo C70 hardtop convertible that Volvo of Charlottesville was offering for a hole-in one prize and drive it to and from Keswick – top down of course! Shaele Wood and Leah Hill got to tour the course setting up sponsor and information signs and then go around again taking photos. It is hard to take a bad picture at Keswick – at every angle there is a beautiful view or the gorgeous Keswick Hall as background. Alaina Schroeder, Martha Trujillo and Lisa Frazier were our cheerful and efficient greeters and signed in all the golfers. Jon Nafziger and Jim Kennan (board member and honorary staff member) were jack of all trades – helping set up our canopy tents and check in area, and staffing Hole 16 to act as witnesses for the Hole-in-One contest for the Volvo. At some point, each of our staff members got to spend some time at Hole 16. (Alas, no one won the car.)

Back in Charlottesville, Miriam Rushfinn stayed behind to hold down the office, and Helen Frye headed off to her scheduled hours at the Charlottesville Free Clinic and Region Ten to facilitate prescription assistance applications. Our fearless leader, Cathy Train, also had many matters to attend to – including her car breaking down as she was about to head to Keswick! She did work her magic to get there for the dinner and awards.

The man of the day was Tom Barnes of State Farm –his presence was ubiquitous, and we benefited from his attention to detail in planning the event. He and Matthias Smith of Keswick made a great team. So often, first-time events are learning experiences – you learn from your mistakes, but this one ran so smoothly that we can all say in hindsight that we would not change anything, just think of some new things to add to make next year’s tournament even better.

Thank you Tom Barnes and State Farm, Matthias Smith and the warm and friendly Keswick staff, all of our hole sponsors, and the lucky golfers, for demonstrating that we can have fun while also helping others.


Submitted by Kim Connolly.

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