Oct. 28, 2003 – The St. Croix Marine Corps Association's 8th annual "Toys for Tots" golf tournament, held on Sunday at the Carambola golf course, was a tremendous success, according to the director of St. Croix's T4T program, Carl Gotts.
"We would like to thank all of the businesses who, year after year, purchase hole and team sponsorships and donate raffle prizes, as well as the golfers," Gotts said, referring to the dozens of St. Croix business people and the 93 golfers who participated in the tournament, raising thousands of dollars to go toward the purchase of new Christmas toys for children in need.
The T4T program, a Marine Corps reservist tradition now in its 57th year, is responsible for the purchase and distribution of more than 7 million toys nationwide each holiday season. The toys are given to children who might otherwise not have a present to open on Christmas morning, and it is through the efforts of individual veteran and reservist Marines that the money for the toys is raised each year.
Locally, the money raised in the tournament goes to charities such as the Women's Coalition of St. Croix, which provides shelter and other services to victims of domestic violence and their children; CASA (for Court Appointed Special Advocates), which trains volunteers to become advocates for children in domestic abuse and neglect cases; the st. Croix Shrine Club and Bethlehem House, which serves homeless individuals and families.
This year's best-ball scramble played out under near perfect conditions at Carambola, according to Gotts, with the winning foursome of Randy and Barbara Maples, and Clay and Sonya Gardenhire topping the field with a score of 52.
The second place trophy was taken home by the team of Wenty Nielsen, Gibbs Bully, Raymond Berkley and Fred Rollins, who were two strokes ahead of the third place finishers, Racquel and Robert Ruach, Robert J. Rouch and Peter Rassmussen.
Top Marine Team honors went to the foursome of Pam & Jerry Kantowski, Roxanne Cannady and Andreas Becker.
Tournament Director Jim Davenport thanked all of the participants and invited them for the 9th Annual event next October.
Lest anyone forget who the real praise goes to for the success of the event, Gotts was quick to point out the generous support of the members St. Croix business community who rallied behind the Marine charge and gave everything they could to see that the children of St. Croix who find themselves in crisis this holiday season will not have to go without the good feelings that come from tearing open the wrapping on a brand new toy Christmas day.
"They are the ones who make this tournament successful and make all of our efforts possible," Gotts said.
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