Volunteer Jared Virtue checks on golfers at the Wellness Classic (Mary Louisa Van Natta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Starting via a “shotgun start” at 9 a.m. sharp on Aug. 2, 36 teams headed into Creekside Golf Club to participate in the Salem Health Foundation’s annual Wellness Classic Golf Tournament. 

The Salem Health Foundation, led by Chief Development Officer Jim Bauer, has worked since 1968 to create a healthier community. By working closely with Salem Health Hospital and other community partners, the foundation raises and distributes funds for cancer treatment, heart health, women’s health, healthcare scholarships, and vulnerable patient support.

This year’s tournament raised money for the Foundation’s “Greatest Need” fund.  This fund has most recently supported a pilot program called “ED Care for Caregivers.” This gives emergency room staff access to onsite counselors trained in crisis support and stress management. The fund has also supported such initiatives as childhood vaccinations clinics. These clinics targeted vulnerable and underrepresented members of our community and helped them receive access to quality healthcare. Food and clothing are made available to people with limited resources who are discharged from the hospital. Over 800 people used these services this year. 

Golfers had plenty of opportunities to test their skills. In addition to competing to be the first place team, golfers tried for longest drive or to see who could get their ball closest to the pin. A hole-in-one contest offered a 2021 Toyota Camry as the prize. By the end of the day, a team representing Hope Orthopedics had won.

It takes a large team of people to put on a tournament.  Development Officer Micheal Seraphin served as the foundation’s main tournament organizer and oversaw its operations. Everyone from the Foundation office worked at the tournament headquarters. This included Jill Munger, Phom Ashford, and Ryan Gail. Foundation board members Alex Rhoten, Alex Casebeer, Kathy Gordon, Pat Force, and John Pollino also came to support and play. 

Many volunteers dedicated their time to help at the tournament. Jared Virtue helped coordinate volunteers like Terry McKay, Renee Littlefield, and Chris Roethlin, who monitored the golf holes and provided hospitality to participants. 

Renee Littlefield and Terry McKay volunteer for the Wellness Classic (Mary Louisa Van Natta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Foundation Development Officer Micheal Seraphin and volunteer Debbie Jamison work the tournament (Mary Louisa Van Natta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Players from Pence Construction (Mary Louisa Van Natta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Foundation staff Phom Ashford and Ryan Gail check in players (Mary Louisa Van Natta/Special to Salem Reporter)

Golfers at the Wellness Classic at Creekside (Mary Louisa Van Natta/Special to Salem Reporter)

The Salem Health Foundation and its supporters are committed to improving the lives of others. You can learn more about the Salem Health Foundation by visiting SalemHealthFoundation.org.

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional, writing regularly about events for Salem Reporter. 

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