By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
For the majority of working-class people, Monday wasn’t exactly their definition of a fun time.
Most of them began their mornings a good two-to-three hours before they might have liked, poured themselves some strong coffee and prepared to dive headfirst into an inevitable bout of the Mondays.
That wasn’t the case for 138 lucky golfers, however, as they headed to TP Country Club to take part in the 22nd annual Cullman Regional Medical Center Foundation’s Million Dollar Hole-in-One Extravaganza.
“It’s a treat to be out here and not at work,” longtime golfer Jeff Preston said. “Anytime we can help out causes like this, we try to get out here and do it. It’s always a lot of fun to play golf and meet some people. And I don’t have to go to work.”
With a four-man scramble, putting contest, long-drive competition, helicopter ball drop and chance to win $1 million in a hole-in-one shootout, the large crowd of golfers, as well as the people responsible for the event, had plenty to be excited about on this particular Monday.
None more, though, than Maria Stanford, the executive director of the CRMC Foundation.
“It’s been a great success for us this year,” she said. “With all the teamwork, the support of our community and the local business who’ve sponsored us, we have been able to do this event for a long time.”
Stanford said that more than 225 staff, board members and volunteers lent their time to make this year’s fundraising event as special and big as possible.
All that effort appears to have paid off for the CRMC.
According to secretary and golf director Champ Crocker, the “extravaganza” has set new highs across the board.
“It’s turned out great,” he said. “We’ve had a record number of golfers and sponsors for this event. It’s maximum capacity. The gross amount of money we make is going to be higher than a year ago.”
While the 2012 tournament brought in around $50,000, this year’s rendition appears to be heading toward the $60,000 to $70,000 range, which will go to help the hospital’s latest “Refresh-a-Room” campaign.
The campaign provides several improvements to patient rooms throughout the hospital.
“Rooms are an essential part of patient care,” Crocker said. “We are trying to increase their quality of stay. This have been a team effort for sure. They’ve all done an outstanding job coordinating and planning. I’m just grateful to be a part of it.”
The foundation has a set goal to raise $5 million and will be close to $2 million after the tournament is all said and done.
For Stanford, she’s grateful for the communities’ support of the CRMC’s events because without it, the foundation wouldn’t be able to accomplish many of its goals.
"This is definitely one of the premier events we do," she said. "We just want to advance healthcare in this community. It wouldn't be possible without so many things. For us to go any bigger, we'd have to do two tournaments, which is something we are considering in the future."
Due to a weather delay, results for each of the event's separate contests were unknown at presstime.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.