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Swinging for education
Derrick Taylor Jr., son of the Hank White Memorial Golf Tournament committee chairman Derrick Taylor, tees off to start his team’s round Saturday morning. - photo by Photo by Andrea Washington
The third annual Henry “Hank” White Memorial Golf Tournament got off to a swinging good time Saturday morning.
More than 20 four-person teams, totaling 84 golfers, participated in the event that raises money to provide local high school seniors with $1,000 scholarships. It also honors the memory of a man who was all about serving his community.
A veteran of the Vietnam War, White served in the U.S. Army until 1976 and won a Bronze Star. He went on to work for the Army Corps of Engineers, serve as the state chaplain for the Georgia Veterans of Foreign Wars, a deacon at First Calvary Baptist Church and president of the First District Laymen of the General Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia.
According to White’s widow, Jo, the tournament is a mix of two of her husband’s favorite hobbies: golf and working with young people.
“Hank loved working with the youth locally and statewide. He worked with the youth in the church and they called him Papa Bear,” she said with a chuckle. “My children, myself and Derrick Taylor thought it would be an honor to have a golf tournament in his name for a scholarship.”
Since its inception in 2005, the tournament has raised enough money to award 12 scholarships to high school students, and the widow said that total should near 20 recipients after Saturday.
“This past year, we gave seven (students) scholarships,” she said. “The goal is to give seven more scholarships this year.”
In his address to golfers prior to tee-off, tournament chairman Derrick Taylor echoed those sentiments when reminding participants about why it is important to support the tournament and other educational programs.
“The Bible tells us for much is given, much is required. So that means those of us that have prospered, those of us who’ve been blessed, owe it to our young people to assist those young people and provide them with the means to further their education,” he said. “One day, these same young people can become lawyers, doctors, judges, pastors and military and community leaders.”
Standing in for Fort Stewart garrison commander Col. Todd Buchs, who was ill, Hunter Army Airfield’s new garrison commander, Lt. Col. Daniel Whitney, said the focus on educating young people is “the key that separates us from every other country in the world.”
“What really separates us is our ability to educate our younger Americans. That’s what makes us great,” he said. “It’s really not our ability to do kinetic warfare and things of that nature. It’s that we invest in our future.”
The event was not just about raising money for scholarships, however. Golfers competed for prizes and trophies for best putting, the longest putt and the longest drive. Participants also had the chance to win either a 2007 Toyota Camry or Tacoma for hitting a hole-in-one.
A list of winners and the final fundraiser tally will be available later this week.

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