Local heroes, Mariners and golfers team up for charity
PULASKI — Although he didn’t complete a round of golf April 20, Billy Wagner likely felt he had a successful day at the Pulaski Country Club.
Close to 100 golfers helped raise a little more than $6,400 for Wagner’s nonprofit educational centers at the first annual Second Chance Learning Center golf tournament.
The tournament was hosted by the Pulaski Mariners and kicked off the Appalachian Leagues’ newly-established relationship with SCLC as the league’s official nonprofit organization. Each Appalachian League team will host a variety of different fundraising activities for the charity throughout the season.
Wagner, a former major league pitcher, said he enjoys golf tournaments because of the opportunity they give him to connect with the participants.
“When you’re involved in golf tournaments, it’s one way to meet and catch up with old friends, but it’s also a good opportunity to see how much a community cares about a particular charity and to give back to that community,” Wagner said.
Friday the participants made their feelings about SCLC clear with each team ponying up $240 to play in the captain’s choice tournament and with many of golfers also taking part in the silent auctions which ran throughout the day.
Currently, SCLC has two centers located in Tazewell and Bluefield and with hopes of expansion, such an outpouring likely helped encourage thoughts of where that expansion might be.
“We talked to the mayor and the county about Second Chance here [Pulaski] and opening that school up to just give kids an opportunity to get that second chance…help with the tutoring and counseling and just give some of these kids a break and a little help,” Wagner said.
The former Tazewell High School standout added that if the Pulaski-based center becomes a reality, he’d like one of Pulaski’s own sports legends to become its front man.
“We’re trying to make Shayne Graham the face of Second Chance if it comes up here to Pulaski,” he said. “He’s the local hero.”
The former Pulaski High School and Virginia Tech standout kicker joined Wagner for the morning rounds Friday and said the event gave him the opportunity to help out his friends, as well as his hometown.
“When you know the people running the event, it makes it nice because you’re helping support them and you know they’re working for a good cause and do good things,” Graham said.
“When you get involved with an organization you want to see the good that it’s doing, and when you see them doing it local, it’s a nice thing to be a part of,” Graham added.
When asked about being made the “face” of a possible Pulaski branch of SCLC, Graham seemed to be on board.
“I wouldn’t complain at all,” Graham said.
The foursome of Kenny Myers, John Hawley, Matt Williams and Butch White took the top tournaments honors with a score of 56.
For more information regarding the Second Chance Learning Center, visit www.secondchancelearning.com.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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