Five hundred sixty-eight golfers hit the tees on four courses, one hundred forty-two at each course with a shotgun start to the 15th Annual Golf for Kids Tournament. The roster filled up this year in just three weeks for this anticipated event; two courses filled in just thirty minutes on Oct. 1, the day registration opened.
The cost of entry was a toy valued at $50. Some golfers didn’t shop for toys but instead donated a $50 gift card which the Virgin Valley Interact Club members took to Walmart and bought toys.
In the past years over a half million dollars in toys have been donated by the golfers which have gone to the Salvation Army for numerous programs including the Angel Tree and Toys for Tots. If toys are left over from the Christmas distribution, the Salvation Army keeps some on the shelves in case a new family comes in and the kids need a little something to help them through the transition.
The Golf Fore Kids event was started by Brian and Rob Wursten in 2005 with just a few volunteers, one generously donated golf course, and 144 golfers bringing toys as their green fee. Over the years, this tournament has expanded and become a Mesquite tradition, as well as a staple for the local communities.
Karen Fielding has been involved with Gold for Kids for the past nine years. Fielding was a recipient of the Angel Tree program 14 years ago when she fell on some hard times and couldn’t afford Christmas for her young children. When Fielding got back on her feet a couple of years later and felt stable, she went straight to the Wursten brothers and asked if she could get involved. Fielding is a big fan of the phrase “Give where you live” and is constantly warmed by this event and the generosity of all the golfers who participate.
Mesquite Police and Fire volunteers loaded all the toys from the golf courses and delivered them to the CasaBlanca Event Tent where a lunch was served to them by Virgin Valley High School Interact Club members.
Big screen T.V.’s, tools, golf certificates galore and other items gathered by Fielding and Lt. Tracy Fails were raffled off. Money spent on raffle tickets will go to the Mesquite Police Department for their Shop with a Cop event. Last year the event raised $6,000 for Shop with a Cop.
Fielding said, “This is my way of giving back to the most generous community in the world. This, above all other events that I volunteer for is my favorite, it’s so humbling. When golfers are at the golf course and see what others have brought, it’s impressive, but when they get here and see all the toys from all the courses, they’re blown away by it. By the end of the day, I’ll be in tears and overflowing with gratitude.”