Golf Classic has stood the test of time

When a charitable event has been around for 38 years, you know its organizers are doing something right.

You also know members of the community are certain the organization it raises money for always has stepped up to help in times of need.

A great example of such an event is the Weirton United Way’s Golf Classic.

Scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Monday at Williams Golf and Country Club, the tournament always attracts a great field that has included golfers from all parts of the Tri-State Area — and the nation. Many can still remember when Bob Prince, the late radio announcer of the Pittsburgh Pirates, participated in the tournament, as did national celebrities, including the late baseball-great Joe DiMaggio.

Participants certainly come to enjoy a great day of golf on one of the region’s top courses. But they also come because they realize the importance of the work done by the United Way and they want to be a part of the event, which is one of the organization’s largest fundraisers of the year.

The official start of this year’s campaign won’t come until late summer, but money raised through Monday’s tournament will offer a significant start for the effort, which will be chaired this year by Chris Hatala and co-chaired by Casey Richards. They’ll be looking to build on the work accomplished during last year’s campaign, which was chaired by Luke Myers and exceeded its fundraising goal of $240,000.

That means the agencies that depend on United Way funding will continue to be able to meet their mission of improving the lives of area residents.

Helping to ensure that support continues are countless volunteers, including John Kirlangitis, who again serves as tournament director; hard-working staff members, led by Linda Stear, the organization’s executive director; as well as many local businesses that have again stepped up to sponsor the event.

Each year’s Weirton United Way campaign includes several major fundraising events, including a fashion show, what officials hope will become an annual Turkey Trot and the annual Super Bowl Eve Tailgate Party, but the golf tournament stands out as one of the area’s premiere charity fundraisers.

It has stood the test of time — and is another example of how residents of our area are willing to help one another.