FORT HOOD, Texas - The 34th annual Bob Lilly/Randy White Celebrity Golf Classic was a swinging success as more than 250 participants came out to Courses of Clear Creek here, May 3, to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Temple.
“We’re just so happy to have the support,” Shannon Gowan, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Temple, said. “We have locals who sponsor golf teams and we put a celebrity or two on teach team.”
Ronald McDonald House Charities is a non-profit organization that provides a home-away-from-home for families who have to travel to Temple, Texas while they have a sick or injured child receiving care in a local hospital. The local charity supports more than 100 families annually. Worldwide, Ronald McDonald House Charities provide more than 2.6 million overnight stays for families annually, saving them more than $935 million in food and lodging expenses.
“These kids need us and we do everything we can to make sure they get what we’re blessed to have,” two-time all-pro running back Dennis Gentry, who played with the Chicago Bears for 11 years, explained about the importance of the fundraiser.
The Super Bowl XX champion, who was part of the famous “Super Bowl Shuffle,” said he played at the first Bob Lilly/Randy White Celebrity Golf Classic and has only missed two or three years because he understands the importance of the event.
As the charity’s largest fundraiser of the year, Gowan said the funds raised will support their operating budget. The fundraiser started off on a positive note Sunday during a banquet at the Bell County Expo, where they made $40,000 during live and silent auctions, breaking the previous auction record of $30,000. In total, the banquet and golf classic raised $100,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Temple.
Mark Bain, chairman of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Temple, said he is happy the event is so close to people’s hearts. He said they had so many people want to sign up this year, that they had to turn people away do to a lack of golf carts. Gowan said the celebrities who support the fundraiser come from all over the nation and call early to be included.
“It’s one of their favorite tournaments of the year,” Gowan added. “We are really blessed.”
Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Dennis DeVaughn was so inspired by Ronald McDonald House Charities that he opened Athletes for Change, an at-risk treatment center for boys in the Glenn Heights area of Dallas in 2017. The live-in facility provides treatment for behavior and emotional disorders.
DeVaughn said he enjoys playing on the course. He said he has participated in the event for years because it is a great cause and it is why he and others come out to Fort Hood annually.
“Ronald McDonald House is very important to my heart,” he added. “That’s why we’re all here today.”