During his two years as a United Way board member, which ended with his death during a mission trip in Honduras Feb. 6, 2007, Mason’s commitment inspired supporters of the organization, spurring them to rename their annual golf tournament in his honor.
“Ric was always very interested in this community,” said Mason’s wife of 30 years, Marsha. “Even though he didn’t grow up here, once he moved here he became very active in the community and all the agencies and he just loved working with people. It’s really an honor that he was associated with the United Way. And then when they named the golf tournament after him that was really one way too that his friends could honor him and come and play in the tournament as well as those funds would go back into our community to help those agencies that help other people.
“[United Way is] an organization that gave back to the community and that’s what he felt so strongly about is giving back. ... As a young business owner, this community helped him to get started and a lot of the other agencies in the community and the banks and different community leaders helped him get started in the business, so he felt really strong to give back to this community.”
Set for May 13, 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 an 8 a.m. registration.
“Ric was really important, not just to United Way — because he was on our board when he was killed in Honduras — but he’s the reason why I’m at United Way,” said Brenda Morehouse, president of the United Way of Bartow County. “I was working for Publix as an associate on loan and they had lent me to United Way to raise money. ... The director of our United Way had quit and I was kind of thinking about taking that jump from retail into nonprofit. And he was talking to me about how he had used to be [in] retail and about how he had changed and encouraged me to apply for the job and felt like I would do real well at it. So I did and I ended up getting it and he was my mentor.
“... [When he died], it broke my heart. It broke everybody’s heart. So that following May when we had the golf tournament, I approached the board and asked them if we couldn’t rename it in his honor. So that’s how all of that came around. So we’re so proud to be able to carry on his memory and the things that he did for us and do something for the community because we know that’s where his passion was.”
Proceeds from the May 13 tournament will benefit United Way’s 16 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, Girl Scouts Division of Bartow County and Advocates for Children. Combined, the nonprofits serve about 60,000 people each year.
The golf tournament’s entry fees range from $100 for a sign-only sponsor to $125 for a single player to $750 for a gold sponsor, which covers four players and various benefits like lunch, dinner, and signage and booth setup at one hole. While participants can register the day of the tournament, people are encouraged to sign up early. Sponsors need to contact the United Way by Wednesday.
For more information or to register in advance, call 770-386-1677 or visit www.bartowliveunited.org.