The Car's a Gem, and She's a Diamond
November 24, 2010
By Laury Livsey, PGA TOUR Staff
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.—On the morning of Nov. 9, Sylvia Diamond of Ormond Beach, Fla., checked her cell phone and saw she had a couple of new e-mails. One in particular didn’t look like anything special—one from the PGA TOUR, something about a car—so she quickly deleted it and didn’t give it another thought.
A couple of hours later, Diamond was sitting at her computer when she noticed the PGA TOUR e-mail again. Although deleted from her phone, it had not been purged from her account. Curious, she finally opened it. The e-mail, from the TOUR’s legal department, had three attachments.
“One of the attachments was a congratulations letter,” Diamond said.
That was “congratulations” as in “Hey, you just won a car!”
Yet she still wasn’t entirely convinced. With a sheepish look on her face, Diamond remembered what she was thinking at the time, “I still thought it might be a scam because I didn’t get a phone call. I figured they would have called me.
“So I called my husband,” she continued, “and I said, ‘Now listen to this. They’re saying I won a Mercedes.’”
“That’s when it clicked,” she added, “and I remembered contributing money to Birdies for the Brave and entering this contest.”
“This contest” was a promotion sponsored by Brumos Motor Cars/Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-Benz of Orange Park. The winner of a random drawing would win a Mercedes-Benz E350, with all the proceeds from the entries going to a program that involves numerous military-outreach efforts including the support of the Wounded Warrior Project. Although it was free to enter the contest, many entrants chose to donate to Birdies for the Brave, as well—Diamond included.
Two weeks after that e-mail arrived, Diamond and her husband, Doug, a retired police sergeant, stood near the front entrance of the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse. A certain car with a huge, red bow prominently on the hood, sat on the driveway.
When Charli Tomm, president and CEO of The Brumos Companies, handed Diamond the keys to the car, she looked at it curiously and remembered the last time she won something. “It was $5 in the Florida Lottery,” she says.
This, safe to say, was not $5 in a state lottery.
Diamond, of Ormond Beach, Fla., who works at an after-school program at an elementary school, opened the door and got in.
“It’s beautiful, but this is really about the cause,” she said. “I read about the contest on the internet, on a website. The link took me to the PGA TOUR site, and that’s where I made my contribution. I never knew anything about Birdies for the Brave before this promotion. But the more I read, the more impressed I became.”
On hand for the presentation was Dan Nevins, a former U.S. Army sergeant wounded in Iraq from an improvised explosive device that eventually led to the amputation of both of his legs. As he stood before the assembled crowd on his prostheses, he joked, “I’m a little bitter. I bought six tickets, and I didn’t win the car.”
He then turned serious, and on Thanksgiving eve, he said, “There is so much to be thankful for. One, to be alive and still be on this planet. I’m also thankful to the PGA TOUR and TPC Sawgrass for what it continues to do to support so many military initiatives that are making a difference in the lives of wounded warriors and their families every day.”
Smiling as he watched the proceedings unfold was Tomm. “This is a great way to spend the day before Thanksgiving, to see a smile like Sylvia’s. It’s just amazing,” he said. “It’s a win-win. We are raising a lot of money, and when you meet someone like Dan and others like him, you realize you can’t do enough. You really can’t.”
Tomm means what he says. In 2009, the PGA TOUR approached Brumos about getting involved in the Birdies for the Brave initiative and Tomm looked at TOUR administrators and said, “What can Brumos do to help?
Well, now that you asked . . .
A year later, Diamond is the beneficiary of Brumos’ generosity, the second car in as many years the dealership has given away. “It’s a great car. She’ll love it,” Tomm added.
Frank Lickliter II, a two-time PGA TOUR champion, was also in attendance, and what the day meant was not lost on him. “This is just great for Sylvia, and now we have another huge supporter of Birdies for the Brave. How many people do you think she’s going to tell over the next year? There’s now a story behind the car, and that story will get passed on through everybody she talks about this car with.”
When the morning activities had concluded, the Diamonds huddled, and Sylvia decided she wasn’t quite ready to take her new car on the road, especially not on Interstate 95. “No, not yet. I’ll just drive home in my 2004 Jeep.”
That left the retired cop standing next to her the chance to take the family’s new wheels for a spin, about an 80-mile drive from TPC Sawgrass to their home. Knowing what was coming, though, and as a pre-emptive measure, Doug Diamond quickly said, “I know the speed limit’s 70. I’ll set the cruise on 72 or 73 and be good.”
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