Through the United Way of Bartow County's upcoming golf tournament, the late Ric Mason Jr.'s legacy of community service is continuing to inspire those connected with the local nonprofit.
During his two years as a United Way board member, which ended with his death during a mission trip in Honduras on Feb. 6, 2007, Mason was known for his dedication to and passion for nonprofit work, leading the organization to rename its annual golf tournament in his honor.
Set for May 21, the Ric Mason Jr. Memorial Golf Tournament currently is registering golfers to play at Barnsley Gardens Resort in Adairsville. The four-player scramble tees off at 9 a.m., following a 7 a.m. registration.
"He meant everything to our organization and everything to me," said Brenda Morehouse, president of the United Way of Bartow County. "He was my personal mentor and the reason why I'm at United Way. He and I have a lot in common. He was in retail before he went to nonprofit. He encouraged me, saw something in me that I guess nobody else saw. And he was the reason why I applied for United Way.
"We had gone to a motivational seminar actually just a couple of days before he died. I remember the whole way home from Atlanta, because it was at the World Congress Center, he was telling me about how important it was to be motivated and that nonprofit -- it's a passion work. And that he can see the passion in me with what I was doing because at the time I was working for Publix. I was just an associate on loan. ... He just inspired me so much."
Proceeds from the May 21 tournament will benefit United Way's 15 agencies: AIDS Alliance of Northwest Georgia, Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, Bartow County 4-H Club, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County, Bartow Civil Air Patrol, American Red Cross, Christian League for Battered Women, New Beginnings Food Outreach, The Salvation Army, Good Shepherd Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Hickory Log Vocational School, North Bartow Community Services, Bartow Health Access and Advocates for Children. Combined, the nonprofits serve about 60,000 people each year.
"It is very important [to support these nonprofits]," said Angela Thomas-Cooley, chairperson of the local United Way's board of directors. "We would urge everyone to participate [in the golf tournament] because we're the voice for a lot of these agencies that can't speak up.
"So [us] being the voice has helped get money to these nonprofit agencies. ... United Way is a trusted partner here in Bartow County. We touch so many different lives in this community."
The golf tournament's entry fees range from $125 for a single player to $1,000 for a gold sponsor, which covers four players and various benefits like breakfast, lunch and signage and booth setup at one hole. While participants can register the day of the tournament, people are encouraged to sign up early.
To register in advance, call 770-386-1677 or visit www.bartowliveunited.org.