PDT Staff Writer
Clarence Parker, chairman of the Natural High Benefit Golf Tournament, knew exactly who to turn to when he wanted a great day for golf Saturday at the Elks Country Club.
“I’ve been praying hard that it wouldn’t rain on us, and that it wouldn’t be real real hot,” Parker said. “So we’ve got it right where it needs to be, and we’re excited about that.”
Parker said as close as he has ever come to a golf course is a few rounds of Putt-Putt. But he was expecting that all to change Saturday afternoon.
“This is my first experience on a golf course,” Parker said. “And we’re excited about the kind of response that we have had.”
Hours before the action started, Parker said the committee was closing in on the numbers they were hoping for.
“We set out with a goal to try to get 20 teams, and I think we currently have 12 teams that have actually paid, and we’re hoping that a few other teams will walk on,” Parker said. “If we end up with around 13-15 teams when it’s the first time, that is a tremendous success.”
Parker’s heart is deep into the tournament because of his concern for the children of the community.
“This is the 24th year for our Summer Outreach Club Program for kids ages 5-12 in Scioto County,” Parker said. “We provide them with motivational, recreational and educational opportunities, field trips, guest speakers, arts and crafts, learning experiences for them.”
Fresh off his appointment from Portsmouth City Council as Mr. Ambassador of Portsmouth, Al Oliver graced the greens Saturday.
“Ironically, Clarence and I came back to Portsmouth around the same time,” Oliver said. “And we worked out of the same building briefly. I was at PMHA (Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority), and involved with the drug programs, and, of course, Clarence had the outreach. Clarence has done a great job with his outreach. I’ll drive down the street, and he has about 50-75 kids walking behind him. And Clarence has always been one of those organized people.”
The program, which is free, runs for nine weeks, and this summer starts on June 3, and runs through Aug. 2.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Parker said. “Last year we had one of our largest attendances in the last six or seven years. And we’re hoping and thinking this year is going to be bigger and better.”
Oliver said he was glad he was asked to be the host for the event.
“I have always been really big on the community,” Oliver said. “The things that have been done through the Counseling Center. When you see people who are trying to do well, you always pull for them. I have always been very supportive of people who are trying to do well. We need more of that. To help today with this golf tournament and be supportive of that, and be a part of it, I feel good about it.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.