By Julia M. Johnson
St. Louis-area golfers eagerly turn out for good causes, and the Heart Gallery Golf Classic 2008 was no exception.
Held September 29 at the WingHaven Country Club in O’Fallon, Mo., the event featured a number of National Football League alumni, vocalist and former Miss Missouri Michele Eise Bailey and Wizard of Oz actor Mickey Carroll. Proceeds from the 200-person event benefited the Missouri office of Adoption Exchange, an organization that specializes in placing older children in loving adoptive homes. St. Louis-based construction firm Paric Corp. was the tournament’s signature sponsor.
Guests had to dodge some raindrops prior to the shotgun start, but the downpour didn’t dampen golfers’ spirits – or their desire to contribute to a worthy cause. Once the skies cleared, participants hit the links with only a minor delay.
The tournament featured lunch, an auction and evening events, as well as an exhibit on Adoption Exchange’s Heart Gallery, a collection of donated professional portraits of kids seeking new homes.
“There’s a huge need in Missouri,” says Larry Walker, advisory board chair for the adoption nonprofit’s offices here. “Our single purpose is to find forever homes for these kids. The longer they have to stay in foster care, the more difficult it becomes to place them. We focus on those who have been in foster care at least three years.”
Event co-chair Ralph Turney said the tournament is expected to be an annual event. Though golf gatherings of this kind normally take eight or nine months to plan, this year’s inaugural event came together in about half that time, he says.
“But we still wanted to make it different from other tournaments,” Turney says. “We got NFL players, Mickey Carroll from the Wizard of Oz cast of Munchkins, the Lord of Golf and a bagpiper to open the event. We wanted to make it memorable – put the ‘fun’ in fund raising.”
Turney co-chaired the 2008 event with Bill Lowery of Paric Corp.
WingHaven Country Club
Dixie Davis, Executive Director