Whirlpool makes a difference in the community through a variety of methods and programs, from jobs to charities, and one of the biggest and most impactful programs it runs each year is the Scott …
Whirlpool makes a difference in the community through a variety of methods and programs, from jobs to charities, and one of the biggest and most impactful programs it runs each year is the Scott Hicks Memorial Auction and Golf Tournament, which benefit the Make A Wish Foundation of East Tennessee.
Jill Culpepper, operations manager of the Whirlpool call center, works with a massive team comprised of Whirlpool plant and Call Center employees as well as community members who all volunteer their time to plan the event each year. This is the 23rd annual auction and tournament. Culpepper is serving the 19th year as chair.
The auction precedes the golf tournament on Thursday,. The tournament is and the tournament on Friday.
Scott Hicks was a Cleveland native and was very active with Make A Wish and First Baptist Church. Hicks died at a young age after having been involved in Make A Wish for years. The decision was made to name the auction and adjoining golf tournament after Hicks.
The event itself will feature a silent and a live auction. All the items up for auction are valued at over $70,000.
“All items are donated by people from the Whirlpool Corporation, and from several companies in Bradley County. We’ve got everything from small appliances to destination vacations to bid on, like a stay at the Peabody in Memphis, trips to Nashville, Knoxville, Gatlinburg, Washington, D.C. and beach vacations,” Culpepper said. “All-in-all, we have over 300 prizes up for auction.”
One unique item in the auction is a Fender guitar autographed by contemporary Christian artist Matthew West.
Perhaps the largest item on the auction block is a new golf cart, branded with the Make A Wish logo, which was donated by Midsouth LSV.
The DJ service Sound Force from Chattanooga will be providing music for the evening.
Famous Dave’s is providing all food for the event. Coca-Cola is providing sodas and RiverSide Spirits is providing cocktails.
After a fun night of food and bidding, the annual Scott Hicks Memorial Golf Tournament will start Friday around 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast followed by a brief kickoff to begin the tournament.
“These are great events because they help Make A Wish — help kids with terminal illnesses get a wish in East Tennessee,” stated Whirlpool Care Advisor Melissa Reuter.
Whirlpool employees recalled a variety of wishes that have been fulfilled over the years. One girl wanted a birthday party at the zoo surrounded by Disney princesses. One wanted to swim with dolphins in Hawaii.
Many children have chosen to go to Disney World or Dollywood, and some want simple wishes, such as meeting a monkey. Some kids have even chosen incredibly generous wishes, like one child wanted a shopping spree for his family.
“I can’t imagine the stress every day brings with it when you have a child going through treatments like these,” Culpepper added. “Everyone just needs a break. That’s what these events are. They’re a time for people to come together and not focus on the one thing that’s always present. It gives them extra hope and encouragement you don’t have every day.”
There are still spots available for those interested in joining a golfing team. Registration costs $700 per team, and teams are comprised of four members each.
For the winners of the golf tournament, numerous prizes await, including trophies, local prizes provided by vendors and obviously, bragging rights.
The auction takes place at Southern Charm, off Minnis Road, on Thursday. Doors open at 6 p.m., and a $10 donation is encouraged at the door.
The golf tournament takes place at the Cleveland Country Club on June 14.
All funds raised from these events go to Make A Wish Foundation of East Tennessee, and are guaranteed to be used locally.
As a testament to the program’s effectiveness, while in 2010 Make A Wish of East Tennessee helped around 50 kids, in 2019 alone, that number is around 80.
For more information, visit www.whirlpool.com.
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