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NAACP, Ford team up for tournament to fund scholarships for local students
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A sunset scene from the Ford Field & River Club golf course, site of the first Bryan County NAACP scholarship golf tournament. Photo provided.

When the Bryan County NAACP’s first scholarship golf tournament tees off May 5 at the Ford Field & River Club, it’ll be one for the books.

And one for hitting the books, as well.

Just ask Luella Sanders, chair of the Bryan County NAACP’s scholarship committee, or Ford resident Dr. Stephen Weiss, MD, who is helping organize the tournament.

They might say a round of golf on one of the South’s most decorated golf courses will be something one won’t soon forget, but at the end of the day the reason for the tournament is all about education.

“Education is the key to our advancement in society,” Weiss said. “We want to identify promising students to help them get their education so they can be good citizens and contribute to our community. Education can be expensive, and not everybody can afford it.”

That’s why Sanders, a comptroller and accounting instructor, and Weiss are promoting the tournament and its effort to fund the Bryan County NAACP’s commitment to provide scholarships to local students, Already, they’ve rounded up an impressive list of supporters: MacAljon Family of Companies; H& L Tire and Auto Repair, Inc.; Stephen and Jackie Rabinowitz; Lloyd D. Murray, Sr., Attorney at Law; Great Oaks Bank; The Boles Foundation; Gene and Carole Brogdon at the CrossRoads Center; Laura Evans, Edward Jones Financial Advisor; Richmond Hill City Council Member Robbie Ward; RedBin Dumpsters; Devillars Lawn Care; State Farm Insurance’s Bob Ward; Yates-Astro Termite and Pest Control; Bryan County Democratic Committee; James R. Gardner, LLC; United Community Advisory Services’ James Magness; Robert M. Levy; Fish Tales; Michelle Monroe; The Shellhouse Restaurant; and EOM.

And Sanders and Weiss say there’s room for more.

“More support, in either sponsorship or in participating golf teams, means more money raised, which means more scholarships awarded “without regard to race, gender, religion or,” Weiss said, and Sanders finished, “or any other construct that people will try to put on you, those will not apply.”

What will apply, Sanders said, is that applicants must be a graduating senior at Bryan County High School or Richmond Hill High School, have a 2.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, submit a 500-word essay, be accepted by an accredited college, university or tech school and complete the application.

What’s more, she said the NAACP scholarship, while helpful, won’t stop when the check cashes.

“We’re not just trying to give them a check and say we’ll see you in four years, or two years,” Sanders said. “We’re  wanting to provide a wraparound service, where they’ll have networking opportunities and mentorship support  while they go to college and when they return. We want this to be a lifelong relationship with these students and ask them to come back and mentor someone else along the way.”

This effort to provide students who need financial support to gain the advantage of an education will take place on a $7.5 million golf course designed in 2014 by Pete Dye, a legend in golf circles, in the middle of an exclusive, gated residential community. The golf tournament may be a first for the Bryan County NAACP, but Ford Field & River Club has in the past held events for groups in need of its support.

Call it a way of giving back.

“The members at Ford want to do this because we’re part of the community,” Weiss said. “We’re really excited about the qualities and characteristics in this program.”

But if you want to golf, “you can’t just show up on the day of,” Weiss added.

You have to sign up in advance, and the sooner one does so, the better one’s chances are of being one of the 25 teams.

The tournament is Thursday, May 5. Registration is at 11:30 a.m. and a shotgun start at 1 p.m.

Registration fee for individuals: $300. Four- some fees: $1,200. Fee includes box lunch prior to shotgun start, beer, drinks, snacks on the course, and award ceremony reception. For the food and drink reception only, tickets are $125.

To sign up or for sponsorship opportunities, please contact: Luella Sanders 912-349-9688, or the website

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