Visiting Nurses Foundation Hosts Annual $1 Million Shootout and Charity Golf Tournament

Images from the Visiting Nurses Foundation $1 Million Shootout.

BIG MONEY: Golfers and Non-Golfers Swing for a Chance at Ultimate Prize for Charity

By Matt Baide

mbaide@chronline.com

Anyone with a club at Riverside Golf Course on Thursday night was purchasing golf balls to try and hit a shot 75 yards into one of two kiddie pools, hoping for a chance at one shot to try and win $1 million.

It is the 21st year for the Visiting Nurses Foundation charity golf tournament and the fourth year of the $1 Million Shootout.

“About four years ago, we added the $1 Million Shootout and that made a big difference kind of on the income side,” Visiting Nurses Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Collins said. “It made the party the night before way more fun for people to come to because you can have some snacks, have a drink, buy raffle tickets and watch people shoot for a million dollars.”

Last year, the shootout combined with the tournament, raised more than $70,000 for an organization dedicated to helping the most vulnerable people in society.

“The Thursday night business after hours obviously is a great fundraiser for the community to come and honor our sponsors and all of our partners. Last year, we raised over $70,000 on the golf tournament and this year, we’re hoping to continue pushing that on to the next level,” Visiting Nurses Foundation Board President Trevor Elliott said. “The biggest thing we’re trying to accomplish is the funding of home health and hospice patients and their families during the most vulnerable times of their lives. So events like these are definitely our big event for the year that really push us forward and be able to provide all those services to those patients and their families.”

Neither Collins nor Elliott are big golfers and don’t participate in the golfing portion of the event.

“Not going to be playing myself. Some kind of basketball tournament, I’ll throw my hat in the ring for that one,” joked Elliott, who is the JV boys basketball coach at W.F. West.

Instead, scores of people grabbed a wedge and tried to hit a shot, either on the fly or on the bounce, into two small kiddie pools. There were only three people who made it this year to take a swing at $1 million: Andy Erb, Danny Brown and Kyle Aselton.

The $1 million shot took place on the 18th hole, a 165-yard shot into an elevated green with the clubhouse serving as the background for the gallery of people hoping to see someone win the ultimate prize.

For the fourth year in a row, no one was able to win the big paycheck. In fact, on their official shots, none of the contestants hit the green, but it was Kyle Aselton who was the closest and took home the top prize.

“I feel like I grabbed the wrong club, I should have went seven iron, I went eight,” Aselton said. “I tried to overswing a little bit and pushed it into the crowd. It must have hit someone’s foot and got a good kick.”

Aselton noted the difficulty of making the first shot in the kiddie pool in order to advance to the final three.

“I actually bought nine shots and I made it on the third one,” Aselton said. “It was pretty windy so the first one, I missed pretty bad just because the wind took it right. The second one was actually pretty close and then the third one, I just dunked it in, no bounce.”

Even though he didn’t win the $1 million, he remembered what the event is really about.

“This is always a good tournament. I always enjoy it, I’ve seen this, the million dollar shot the last few years but never thought I would actually be out here hitting it just because I’m not that great at golf. Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good,” Aselton said.

For the people on the board and everyone in the organization, this event is a big deal in helping the Visiting Nurses Foundation achieve its overall goal in the community.

“My work as president of the Visiting Nurses Foundation is really working alongside Jenny (Collins) and (Administrative Assistant) Sheila (Stone) and our strong board, who are all very passionate about individually impacting people’s lives,” Elliott said. “I think the Visiting Nurses Foundation is able to do that in such a unique way with the most vulnerable time of people’s lives, whether it be a family member or the actual patients themselves. So to be able to be a part of an organization that individually impacts people’s lives is just something that’s really special to each one of us board members and everyone involved in the organization.”

For Collins, this work means everything to her.

“It’s become my life. I was affected myself by home health and hospice about seven years ago when my own mom was put on hospice,” Collins said. “I was already the executive director at that point so I knew, my brain said this is what we do, but then my mom went on hospice and my heart, that was it. I was owned, it owned me, I love everything about it. I like providing help to families when they are going through the worst times in their life.”

This year, Collins hopes to reach the $80,000 mark in funds generated through the event.

The Visiting Nurses Foundation puts on other events throughout the year, including a celebration of life before Christmas to help people grieve for loved ones during the holiday season.

Even if you were unable to participate in the $1 million shootout or the golf tournament, there are still plenty of ways you can help.

“There are lots of ways to help us at Visiting Nurses. You can volunteer at our thrift stores, you can donate to our thrift stores, also shop our stores,” Collins said. “All of that money goes straight back to home health and hospice. Come to our events, call the store and just make a donation. Volunteering at these events is really a fun thing to do, people have a great time.”

For more information about the Visiting Nurses Foundation, please visit their website at visitingnursesfoundation.org.

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