The former Spring Swing Golf Classic, an 18-year-old benefit supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of East Tennessee, is one such cause.
It offers all the ingredients: heartfelt need, community support and volunteers.
And in this case, it boasted a key supporter — a volunteer who gave of his time, his talents, his energy, his donations and himself.
For the late William Scott Hicks, a Bradley County native and 1977 graduate of Cleveland High School, this year’s fundraiser would have marked the 18th. But last August, Scott was laid to rest by a grieving family and hundreds of friends whose hearts still swell at the mention of how their loved one so loved community causes ... such as Make-A-Wish Foundation, and how he gave to the limit to sustain the difference they make in our Cleveland and Bradley County community.
To honor his memory, and to mark the personal sacrifices he made to bring a little joy into the lives of others, the Spring Swing Golf Classic planning committee — made up almost exclusively of Cleveland-based Whirlpool employees — this year changed its name.
The new entity is now the Scott Hicks Memorial Golf Classic and this year it is enjoying its 18th birthday. Each of those years it has supported the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has raised collectively almost $600,000 that has been, and is still being, used to help make dreams come true for critically ill children in Southeast Tennessee. Many of those little faces have been the youngsters of Cleveland and Bradley County parents.
This year’s golf classic, hoping to raise $45,000, was held in early June. But the fundraiser’s other half — the live and silent auctions — is coming July 31. Those wishing to help make a child’s wish come true by attending the auctions can expect more information soon.
Had he lived to see this ever-growing fundraiser become another year older, Scott Hicks surely would have led the pack in securing donations for the auction in hopes that each gift would help to nurture the realization of another dream.
Richard “Dicky” Walters, plant leader at the Whirlpool Cleveland Division manufacturing facility on Benton Pike, said it eloquently when he spoke at the recent dedication in advance of the opening tee time for the golf tournament at the Cleveland Country Club.
“One of the core beliefs of the Make-A-Wish Foundation is that these ‘wish experiences’ can be a life-changing event for the kids and for their families,” the longtime Whirlpool leader stressed.
But civic causes can be only as successful as their volunteer base is strong. Walters, whose voice speaks on behalf of a conglomerate of Whirlpool volunteers at the plant, the call center on 20th Street and the engineering (GPO) function, praised Hicks and his family for always going the extra mile in support of those who cannot do it on their own.
“Scott, his family and his business have been longtime partners and supporters of this event ever since it first began some 18 years ago,” Walters cited. “His involvement as a sponsor, committee member, coordinator and overall advocate for this cause has been instrumental in the success of this event.”
In his own unique style known best to his friends and colleagues at Whirlpool, Walters brought it all home. Of Hicks’ own core values, he told the assembled crowd — which included a delegation of family members — “... Scott and Make-A-Wish share the same belief ... that ‘sometimes all it takes is a seemingly small event to change someone’s life.’ I believe it is both fitting and appropriate to rename this event after Scott Hicks, and I am honored to officially do that.”
Those who did not know Scott Hicks would have called him friend had their paths crossed.
Scott was a good man, one whose 33-year marriage with his wife, Robin, was described as “... a shining example of a Christ-centered marriage.”
Scott was a family man. He and Robin were the proud parents of two children, David Hicks and Laura Harris, both of Cleveland. They were the equally as proud grandparents of four grandchildren.
Scott was a man who grew from boyhood thanks to the love and upbringing of his parents, Sonny and Pat Hicks.
Scott was a man of deep conviction, as evidenced by his active membership at First Baptist Church of Cleveland where he served as a deacon, Sunday School teacher, committee member and leader of numerous Bible studies.
Of all that can be spoken and admired of Scott Hicks, perhaps one trait that is most moving is this. He was “... an all-around servant and encourager of others.”
In life, people can make a difference.
And in memory, people can make dreams come true.
Scott Hicks did. And he’s still doing it. Every Cleveland and Bradley County child who has ever been granted a wish is our living proof.