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For those of you who don’t know, philanthropy has become a huge part of my life over the past few years. I’ve been developing my charity, Hooked on Books, to promote the importance of early literacy since 2010 and have watched my best friend build Birthday Candles, a local organization providing birthday parties for homeless children, from the ground up over the last 12 months. I hope to one day move into the non-profit sector full time; however, that requires a sound financial support system (ie rich husband) and a plethora of entrepreneurial connections (ie friends in high–not low– places).
Since I’m not fully capable of focusing on my 501(c)3 24/7, I jump at the opportunity to combine my professional and philanthropic endeavors. This year I had the absolute pleasure of planning the 1st Annual Liberty Cup Golf Tournament, held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Golf Club on Friday, September 20th in Orlando, Florida. The proceeds benefited The Adventist University of Health Sciences Hope Clinic, which provides occupational therapy to those with no insurance, maxed-out insurance, or insurance that does not cover therapy, and The Folds of Honor Organization, which exists to provide scholarships and financial aid to the children of wounded and fallen American soldiers.
The gorgeous Rosen Shingle Creek Golf Club and Hotel
Couldn’t have hoped for a prettier day!
We jumped into the planning process extremely late, so I’m very proud of how well the tournament turned out, given its 4 months of preparation (compared to the 15-month recommended planning period). 60+ people came out to support the inaugural event, and everyone had an absolute blast. It was even listed as an official Patriot Golf Day event, so The Liberty Cup was featured among dozens of world-famous PGA tournaments on the Folds of Honor website… no big!
CT and his foursome
My favorite Brit preparing to hit it long and straight!
We were even blessed with a surprise last-minute attendee: Robert “BJ” Jackson. BJ is a retired soldier, double amputee, motivational speaker, Folds of Honor beneficiary, and all-around inspiration. He received a standing ovation for his motivational words and in support of his worthy cause. Dr. Tia Hughes, Chairman of the Hope Clinic, was also in attendance, and she received a warm acclamation for her speech. To be surrounded by such wonderful, generous, and inspiring people really makes you realize how big of a difference each person can make in the world. One spark starts the fire.
BJ Jackson underwent a life-altering surgery after being trapped in a burning vehicle during his time of service in Iraq. Both of his legs were amputated, and he was unable to speak due to completely paralyzed vocal chords. He says the first thing he thought of when he woke up in the hospital was, “How am I going to take care of my family?”
All of his six children have received scholarships from Folds of Honor.
My amazing team and I with BJ Jackson
My only regret with the 1st Annual Liberty Cup is that I didn’t actually get to golf. Due to my neophyte golf tournament planner status, I figured it was best to sit this one out and focus on the tournament logistics. Also, I don’t know how to golf– so that played a part in my decision, as well. But basically, I can check “plan a charity golf tournament” off my bucket list! The kicker is that we’re already starting to plan for the 2nd Annual Liberty Cup… here we go again!