LUMBERTON — As Owen Thomas prepares to host the Kiwanis All-American golf tournament this weekend at Pinecrest Country Club in his first year as chairman, he can’t help but think about the impact the event has beyond the golf course.
“It has been very rewarding to see the dollars raised by the Kiwanians allocated to programs tailored to meet the needs of the children of Robeson County,” said Thomas, treasurer of the Kiwanis Club of Robeson-Lumberton.
The two-person, best-ball tournament will benefit the Kiwanis Club of Robeson-Lumberton, which uses the proceeds to support children’s programs in the area. All proceeds from the event go to agencies providing support, guidance and protection to children around the county.
Over the past 38 years, funds have been used to provide clothes and shoes to students in need, pay for counseling of children who suffered the death of a family member, buy books for second-graders and supply Christmas gifts and scholarships to area youth. Money has also been donated to numerous organizations that help local kids.
Recently, Thomas has seen it benefit the creation of two new organizations within the Kiwanis Club.
“In the last year, we have sponsored the chartering of the Key Club at Lumberton High School and the Circle K Club at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke,” he said.
“Both clubs chartered the most students in our district. (We have) 165 Key Clubbers and 120 Circle K’ers. This is a significant number of youth that have become members of our Kiwanis Family.”
The organization will seek more growth as the 39th edition of its golf tournament kicks off this weekend.
Brad Locklear and Lonail Locklear slipped on the blue jacket last year, winning by two strokes to hold off John Haskins and Larry Cloninger. Dyrck Fanning and Scott Benton also finished two strokes back.
A field of 75 teams is expected, including the trio of teams that finished in the top three last year. Mark Lassiter and Keith McGirt are also past champions set to compete in the event.
For Thomas, it’s a chance for the club to give its county golfers something to play for outside of the competition.
“I am looking forward to seeing the Lumberton Key Club, UNC Pembroke Circle K, and Kiwanis of Robeson-Lumberton come together to show the community members that we are an organization committed to supporting all children in Robeson County.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.