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Golf raises more than $10,000 for cancer patient
Golf Pic 1
The first-place team of Bucky Keel, Steve Wiggens, James Jones, and Jeff Stewart finished tied at 53 and won on a scorecard playoff. - photo by Mikee Riddle

The John E. Smiley Jr. “Jay Bird” Memorial Golf Tournament Saturday at Cherokee Rose Country Club raised more than $10,000 for Valarie Gosseck, who is battling cancer.

The tournament had 26 teams play, with all showing their support for the Long County resident.
This year, there was a tie for first place, with both teams shooting 53. After a scorecard playoff, the team of Steve Wiggens, James Jones, Jeff Stewart and Bucky Keel took home first place and $400.

Taking second and $300 was the team of Will Bowman, Kevin Lewis, Dave Singleton and Shawn Sinkler.
Both teams donated their winnings to Gosseck.
The longest-drive competition was won by Zach Dasher for the men and LaDora Lewis for the women. They, too, donated the prize money back to Gosseck.

After the tournament, Gosseck said, “I would like to first say thank you from the bottom of my heart, and praise God for this wonderful blessing. My family and I humbly accept this financial assistance. Although this money could not have come at a better time, more valued to me is the outpouring of love, support, kindness and prayers from my friends, family and complete strangers.”

She also thanked the Smiley family and the sponsors and organizers of the day.
Gosseck, who battled cancer into remission earlier, said she is optimistic.
“I beat it 20 years ago and with all of your support, I will beat it again,” she said.

Organizer Tracy Howard also thanked all who played and helped with the day.
“I also want to make sure we thank Wrap-It Signs, Coastal Cooling, Hinesville Ford, Southern Pipe, Tri-County Bonding, GNR Farms, the Cherokee Rose Golf Course, Fred Gassaway, Billy Jo Nelson, Johnny Smiley, Steve Welborn, Micah Smiley, Cheryl Hawkins, Frances Islar, all the hole sponsors and the volunteers,” he said.

In addition to the golf, participants ate together.

Go to to see more pictures from the day.

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