'Fore' a Good Cause

Sierra View Foundation raises thousands for new MRI scanner at annual SVMC Golf Classic

It was a day for hitting the links and enjoying fine spring weather, all while raising money for new equipment for Sierra View Medical Center at the 15th annual Sierra View Golf Classic Friday, April 5 at River Island Country Club.

Sierra View Foundation chair Debbie Landers said, “Every year we look at what the hospital is in need of, there’s equipment a lot of the time. So this year we’re putting our funds toward an MRI scanner. We’ll probably never raise enough money to pay for the entire scan but enough to at least help with that cost for the hospital. And that’s going to benefit the community in a big way.”

In a press release last month, the foundation also said the money raised “will support the funding for an advanced and more sophisticated Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner. The MRI machine will help progress the SVMC imaging services and have a direct impact in patient care.”

Over 150 golfers and 14 business participated in the golfing portion of the annual fundraiser, and golfers said they thought there more people in attendance than before.

“We’re very fortunate that right in our own little Valley, we have this beautiful golf course,” Landers said. “And River Island is so gracious to allow us to do our fundraiser. It’s just one of those courses that everyone loves playing on. So when this comes up every year, it’s a sell out. So we’re very, very blessed to have this at our disposal to use.”

After 18 holes of best ball play, the Bank of Sierra 2 foursome of Avtar Basra, Jose Lopez, Raudel Macias and Mikey McGinn emerged as the winners with a score of 49.

Macias said after the tournament that he liked to support the hospital and that it was his third year participating. He also said the best part about the day was his team playing well.

Individual winners in the tournament were Novalie Harry for longest drive on hole one for women, Nate Jessup for longest drive on hole one for men and Mikey McGinn for closest to the hole — 5 feet, 3 inches — on the 11th hole.

Throughout the day, laughter and smiles were heard and seen all around as people either reconnected with each other or the course. Some golfers admitted the fundraiser brought them out for the first time since the last one, or even longer for others.

After teeing off from the seventh hole, Nate Jessup said this time last year he was down at the University of Southern California having 40 lymph nodes removed. Getting into a golf cart with his son, he called out, “But look at me now!”

The seventh hole was a popular one with a beautiful blue BMW 330i, which retails for $40,250, behind the teeing area to remind golfers that a hole-in-one from there could win them the car. The hole was sponsored by BMW of Visalia.

On the hole before it, the USC Institute of Urology sponsored a golf ball launcher that golfers could use in place of hitting off the tee. Also at the sixth hole tee were SVF planning committee members, Tara Everett and Kathleen Remillard, who were running a vendors booth and had a cornhole game available.

“Everyone thinks it’s a lot of fun and it gives them something to do while they wait for the ball launcher,” Remillard, who was helping Everrett, said. “So it’s a nice distraction.”

Everett, a sales representative for Central Valley Business Forms, was one of three vendors on the course for the first time in the tournament. Her company works in printing and work was displayed on items for golfers to take a look at. While golfers waited, they were able to play cornhole on a platform that also showcased CVBF’s work. If a golfer could toss a bean bag through the hole on their first try, their prize was an item from the CVBF booth.

Everett said she was glad to be able to support the foundation and be out on the course. She added, “On a personal note, I feel like I’ve gotten maybe some new clients, which is always good.”

Other vendor sponsors on the course were Optimal Home Health and Sierra Hills. In total, 42 business participated in the sponsoring of the event, with over 20 being tee sign sponsors. Those sponsorships alone totaled $36,000 according to the foundation program. Money was also raised through golf extras such as raffle tickets, team move up and mulligans ranging from $5 to $125

Over the year, SVF chair Landers said the committee usually raises $150,000, with the golf tournament bringing in $35,000-$40,000.

“Of course we’re always reaching for more,” she added. “Sponsorships, people that buy tee signs. We’re always grateful for the ones that step in and do those things early. The larger sponsors that come in too. And of course they were selling raffle tickets and doing other things as giveaways to raise additional funds.”

After committee members worked for months to set up the fundraiser, SVF and SVMC personnel were at it from 7 a.m. to past 5 p.m. to help make things run smoothly. While golfers played, Sierra View personnel were either helping at certain holes, selling raffle tickets or setting up the raffle prizes, which ranged from gift baskets from local businesses to a Hisense 55-inch 4K smart TV. After the 10 a.m. shotgun start, golfers were able to pick up raffle prizes and have lunch while awaiting the announcement of the tournament’s winners.

“We get a lot of help from the marketing department,” Landers said. “They’re extremely helpful. Monica [Diaz], Kim [Pryor-DeShazo] and the whole group that’s there with them. And then they get volunteers from the hospital too. And friends, and family members that are willing to do this. It takes a village, just like to raise a child, it takes a village to do this, too.”