Golfers, businesses support 'JT' and G-A MAAX

PAT FRIDGEN
Golfers tried for a hole-in-one from the 13th tee, but nobody drove home in a new car.

Hot weather and the threat of thunderstorms did not deter 120 golfers who registered for the G-A MAAX Golf Outing on Friday. The event was a success, according to tournament organizers, and they were excited that the first such fundraiser was embraced by so many people who supported the cause. The goal on the number of participants was reached. The committee also appreciated the tally of sponsors who backed the initiative. The scramble was held at Greencastle Greens Golf Club. Proceeds will be used toward costs associated with renovations of Kaley Field last year, and the high school training room will be named for the school district's first athletic trainer, Jim "J.T." Thomas. A scholarship will also be created for a Greencastle-Antrim High School senior planning to major in sports medicine.

"People seemed to have a good time," said G-A MAAX member Brenda Blair. "It was hot but there was some relief when the sun went in and the wind picked up. For the first time, we felt it was very successful. We hope to do this every year at about the same time."

On the links since noon, the players were feeling the effects of the heat by the last hole. While noone won any of the huge prizes, including a new car and $1 million, offered by Antrim Way Honda, everyone involved remained dedicated to the cause.

"It's been a long afternoon," said Chad Murray. "I'm here to support G-A MAAX. I heard thunder and felt a few sprinkles. They were a welcome refreshment."

His partner Dave Keith shared a similar reason for spending nearly six hours outdoors. "I want to help the athletic association and hang out with good people."

He hadn't won any of the incentives for particular shots along the way.

"My golf game, like life, has been up and down."

Jim Aaron, working for Tournament Pros, drove to Greencastle from Kensington, Md. He sold raffle tickets at one hole, safely shielded under a canopy.

"I try to persuade everybody to buy them," he said.

Golfers earned chances for prizes and G-A MAAX raised a little more money with each sale.

Thomas was at the clubhouse, and encountered a number of his former students. The plaque for the training room proclaimed his accolades. He mentored students for 42 years, both as an educator and coach. In 1970 he became the district athletic trainer, and stayed at the post for 29 years.

Thomas was first approached a year ago that his name might be attached to the training room.

"What if I say no?" he queried.

"We'll do it anyway," came the response from G-A MAAX.

Thomas said he was honored by the recognition.

"It's not necessary though. What I did is what I was supposed to do."

He enjoyed the tournament, chatting with friends from years ago. The crowd mingled, eating sandwiches and burgers as raffle numbers were called out, and the scores were tallied. Spirits were high, no matter who won.