A Bit of Sunshine Comes Through Dark Storm Clouds

“Rain can ruin your weekend or it can save your life-it just depends on who and where you are.” Joseph Goetz

Last week western North Carolina received torrential rains and flooding that caused a great deal of damage that effected thousands of families in our community. As bad as it was there is at least one story that brought a bit of “sunshine” through the dark clouds.

For anyone that has ever created, worked on, or volunteered for a golf tournament, you know for a fact that it is not easy. The hundreds of details with team and sponsor recruitment, setting up the course, making sure the food and drinks are delivered and set up on time, volunteers in place, and a great many other aspects that would take far too long and space to list.

As many of you who are familiar with the work of Eblen Charities, you know that not only did the work of Eblen begin with our first tournament in 1990, but our two tournaments – the Wicked Weed / Brad Johnson Celebrity Golf Classic and the Avadim Technologies / Heath Shuler Fall Golf Invitational are two of the largest tournament in western North Carolina that touches the lives of thousands of families in need in our community.

Last Tuesday, we had scheduled our 29th Annual Brad Johnson Celebrity Golf Classic at the Cliffs at Walnut Cove. With a new title sponsor (Wicked Weed Brewing), a new look, and more activities on the course we were as excited as we have ever been since the beginning of the tournament.

We were ready… and then it rained and rained, and rained. And then it rained some more.

So early on Tuesday morning, as we were setting up, we decided to call the tournament and reschedule. So we started packing up and quickly calling our teams to let them know they could stay dry for the day. As grateful as they seemed to be, every team said that they were planning on coming out to play, no matter what the weather might have been to support our work and the families we serve.

Now in reading this you may be thinking, “OK, why are you writing about all of this? Every tournament gets rained out at sometime and everyone works hard at their tournament.” And if you think that, you would be right.

But that is not where the real story lays.

The story is not about golf.

The story is about lunch.

Arby’s box lunch to be exact.

Since the early days of the tournament, our long-time friend and founding board member Joe Brumit of the Brumit Restaurant Group and Arby’s has generously provided wonderful Arby’s box lunches for the 300 – plus golfers, volunteers, and staff at the course.

Of course, in preparation of the tournament the lunches were put together the evening before and early that morning and now with having to reschedule we had to figure out what to do with more than 300 box lunches containing turkey wraps, chips, and cookies. And what happened next is the reason that I am writing this story.

The tournament was originally scheduled for Tuesday May 22nd, but we had to change the date in early February due to some calendar conflicts to Tuesday May 29th, the day after Memorial Day. Our Waddell Client Service Center was closed on Monday for the holiday so Tuesday morning we were packed with families seeking assistance that would have normally been there on Monday.

By 10:00 am we brought bag after bag into the office containing the tremendous Arby’s lunch and began sharing it with our clients. Throughout the day we handed out the box lunches to the families in our office and listen to the most amazing stories from our grateful clients.

One wonderful woman told us that she hadn’t had any food at home for more than two weeks and took a shopping bag full of meals home with her.

One gentleman began to cry when we handed him two boxes.

A number of our clients asked if they might be able to take a box home for their husband, wife, and/or children.

We also received a carload of various varieties of fresh bread on Monday from our friend David Meyer of Wells Fargo Advisors to add to the lunches that our families took home. It was an amazing day and one as far from what was planned as we could have imagined.

And it was all because of the rain.

Growing up, when I would complain when it rained on the weekend and whatever plans I may have had. A “nasty, dreary day” I remember once saying to my grandfather. Grandpa replied, “It looks like a beautiful rainy day to me.”

He then told me, “Billy, rain can ruin your weekend or it can save your life. It just depends on who you are and where you are.”

I certainly can’t say that the rain and the subsequent rescheduling of the tournament saved any lives, but I do know for a certainty that last Tuesday, the rain gave us the opportunity to touch and help feed so many and gave us as my grandfather would say, “a beautiful rainy day.”

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