Walt Jones Habitat event came off anyway

May 31, 2014

As chairman of Sussex County Habitat for Humanity’s Walt Jones Memorial Project 2014, I’d like to recognize the incredible generosity and dedication displayed toward this worthy cause by so many of our local businesses, participants, volunteers and Habitat staff.

Starting the year off with our second annual Winter Golf Clinic sponsored by MoneyMailer and Highmark BC/BS, hosted by Delmarva Christian High School, staffed by eight local golf pros and led by volunteer Glen Reid, more than 80 players of all ages enjoyed this off season opportunity to sharpen their fundamental skills and win some valuable door prizes.

Then in April, under the leadership of volunteers and wine enthusiasts, David Zorb and Mike Ohrs with delicious complimentary appetizers arranged by Delores Gue from Henlopen City Oyster House, Arena’s and Frank and Louie’s Italian Specialties, over 100 attendees came out to our 2nd Annual Wine Tasting sponsored by Bin 66 and Jack Lingo Realtor. Later that month as we approached our 9th annual Walt Jones Golf Outing in May, we had to make the first of two major adjustments for 2014.

Recognizing a major change in our volunteer capacity with the relocation of its primary organizer, Ms. Kay Herrman, we shifted away from our traditional Silent and Live Auction Night at Bethany Blues and replaced with it lively “Wing it for Walt Jones” night at which Ricky Artz played and attendees enjoyed happy hour, wings specials and opportunities to enter several raffles. Bethany Blues donated 20 percent of the evening’s sales to Sussex County Habitat.

Two days later, May 16, the stage was set for the main event. Midway Par 3 course operators, Mark and Barbara Moore had done a fabulous job grooming the fairways and greens. With over 150 players set to play, T-shirts and goodie bags full, banners ready to be hung for co-event sponsors, Schell Bros. and Poore’s Propane as well as other activity sponsors including PNC, Jeanine O’Donnell’s State Farm office, Cape Gazette, The Lee Ann Wilkinson Group, DryZone, Highmark BC/BS, Tanger Outlets, Delmarva Public Radio, and Bethany Blues, the weather man stepped in late Thursday night with heavy rain and winds forecast to commence just about the same time our morning round was about to tee off and continue throughout the afternoon - our first rainout in nine years!

Our volunteer team and sponsors as well as players were undeterred! Working closely with our catering coordinator at Bethany Blues, Jessica Nathan, we were able to alert all players and over 30 volunteers who were lined up to work various shifts during the golf outing by 6 a.m. of the morning of the outing and reconfigure our plans and resources to hold our first ever “Liar’s Lunch” attended by two-thirds of our registrants with sponsor banners on display and T-shirts, goodie bags, and golf contest prizes raffled off. Everyone got to go home with at least one great story about how this year’s golf outing went.

Thanks to the efforts of so many people involved in this last minute change up as well as the earlier three events, over $40,000 was raised - enough to fund over 50 percent of the construction costs of a Habitat home here in Sussex County. The generosity and agility of our sponsors, donors, volunteers and staff is truly amazing, and I am proud to have been a part of this effort.

Ted Fischer
planning committee
Walt Jones Memorial Project 2014

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