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Volunteers give back at the Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn

From left: Jim Correll, Greater Hickory Kia Classic tournament director, Frank Aichinger, co-pastor New Vision Presbyterian Church, Anne Aichinger, co-pastor New Vision Presbyterian Church, Leigh Russell, tournament coordinator GHKC and Jim Ten Kate, vice chairman of player services.

October 22, 2013

By Casey Schoenholtz, Special to Together.PGATOUR,com

CONOVER, N.C.—Giving back is something the Greater Hickory Kia Classic at Rock Barn has always been passionate about. After a devastating storm in July, volunteers flocked to the course to repair damages and restore playing conditions to allow this year’s tournament to go on.

The community support for this event also included increased donations for the Pack-A-Bag program through the creation of a new 50/50 contest.  Volunteers paid for chances to guess the total number of birdies during the tournament each day, but in the end the true purpose was to raise awareness and funds to help the local community.

“We are always looking for new ways to help our local charities, and the 50-50 raffle some of our volunteers came up with this year is a perfect example,”  Greater Hickory Kia Classic executive tournament director Jim Correll said.  “In the past, the volunteers have donated food for the program, but this way, Pack-a-Bag can purchase what they need to fill whatever holes they have. The beauty of a 50-50 raffle is that everyone has a chance to win some money so it’s a beneficial way for volunteers to help a very important charitable organization.”

The raised funds exceeded $1,100 and were donated to the New Vision Presbyterian Church, which helps support Shuford Elementary School, just miles from the Rock Barn Golf & Spa property in Conover.

Frank and Ann Aichinger accepted a check on behalf of the New Vision Church, and the money raised through the 50/50 contest will help pay bills and buy food and supplies for Shuford students that struggle buying the necessities. Many of the students at this school are a part of Federal or Reduced Meal programs, making every donation a critical one for these children. Money raised from the contest will help 60 percent of the kids at Shuford Elementary School.

The 50/50 contest from this year’s Pack-A-Bag program again emphasizes how more than 700 volunteers love giving back to their community and lending a hand to make this event a great success in the area. Three quarters of the tournament supporters have given their time to the Greater Hickory Kia Classic for more than five years with many having helped since the inaugural event in 2003.

While recovering from the national disaster that devastated the Greater Hickory Kia Classic’s home course has been the community’s No. 1 focus since July, tournament volunteers never lost sight of the tournament’s primary focus – helping charitable organizations throughout Western North Carolina.

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