Now entering its 16th big year, Spring Swing helps to grant the wishes of children facing life-threatening medical conditions through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee. Since its inception by a group of Maytag Cleveland Cooking Products and Maytag Cleveland Customer Service employee volunteers, the festivity has raised more than $450,000 on behalf of the local Make-A-Wish group which serves families in the Cleveland and Chattanooga areas.
This year’s goal is about $40,000 although it is not inconceivable that a remarkably successful project could push the local campaign to more than half-a-million dollars to Make-A-Wish over the lifetime of the initiative.
The Spring Swing is a two-pronged fundraiser — this week’s Thursday night silent and live auction, and the Friday morning golf outing. The popular team-golf event is already sold out with all positions booked. But, those who want to support Make-A-Wish through Spring Swing can still get involved by attending Thursday’s festive auction at the Cleveland Country Club located at 345 Kyle Lane.
Those already registered for the Friday morning tournament are assured of attending the lively auction. However, area residents — whether or not they are golfers — are welcome to attend the fundraiser which will include some good eats, live entertainment and plenty of items on which to bid in the silent and live rounds.
Check-in gets under way at 6:30 p.m. with both the silent and live auctions starting at about 7:30. A $10 entry fee will be charged at the door.
When Whirlpool Corporation acquired the former Maytag several years ago, the Cleveland-based manufacturing operation continued to crank out some of the world’s finest quality appliances. By the same token, employees maintained their commitment to the community. And that explains why many Whirlpool Cleveland Division and Whirlpool Cleveland Customer eXperience Center associates have continued their involvement with Spring Swing and Make-A-Wish, a partnership that started under the Maytag umbrella.
As companies, both the former Maytag and now Whirlpool have been highly supportive of Spring Swing through financial contributions and product donations. However, most of the legwork and planning have been coordinated through the combined efforts of employee volunteers, Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee staff, and additional volunteers from the community and Whirlpool suppliers and business partners.
The golf tournament and auction were launched in 1996 as an outreach for one of the area’s most children-friendly nonprofit organizations. Some have volunteered their time since the project’s implementation.
A few of the Whirlpool and Make-A-Wish volunteers involved again this year are Andy Bender, Bob Lewis, Dale Hall, Gary Nowlin, John Underwood, Larry Cook, Coleen Trew, Rusty Parsons, Shelia Nicholson, Stephanie Wilkins and Steve Leach, among several others.
Those attending Thursday night’s auction will have these donated prizes on which to bid: Maytag Gemini, laundry appliances donated by Whirlpool Cleveland’s sister divisions, two slide-in ranges, a dinner for eight at Bonefish Grill, and a variety of travel packages that include Orlando, Fla., Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Gatlinburg. A Cleveland Family YMCA membership is also on the line, as is a football autographed by Phillip Fulmer and a basketball by Pat Summitt. Donated auction items are still being accepted.
Additional information may be obtained by contacting Gary Nowlin at 423-478-4358 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like anyone else, children stricken with life-threatening illnesses have wishes.
Make-A-Wish Foundation makes them come true.