By SHERRY VAN ARSDALL
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Greg Taylor has been the Wakarusa-Nappanee Chamber Golf Outing chairman for 10 years.
“It’s not a formal title,” Taylor said. “If you are willing to do, they’ll let you do it again. I’ve enjoyed it.”
Ten years ago, the golf tournament was two separate events for each Chamber. Taylor said Larry Andrews, the previous Nappanee executive director, asked him to “beef up their golf outing,” and Bernie Beer, of McCormick Motors, suggested merging the two outings in 2004.
“There was some real hesitation from both communities at first. Then, as the outing blossomed, everyone really warmed up to the idea,” Taylor said. “It really turned out to be a logical merger since both Wakarusa and Nappanee make up NorthWood High School. We compete together anyway. It just made sense.”
The major theme has remained the same during the years, Have Fun and Raise Funds. The golf tournament raises money for scholarships for Dollars for Scholars and for the Wakarusa and Nappanee Chambers.
The combined efforts of the two chambers generate $5,000 in scholarships each year, and Taylor said that more than $50,000 has been awarded to the Dollars for Scholars program since 2004.
“It goes directly to students to go to college,” he said. “At least 20 students have benefitted.”
There are thousands of dollars in prizes given away through contests within the tournament for the participants.
“One year in 2008, we gave away two automobiles as a result of two separate holes in one,” he said, smiling. “We believe this is the only Chamber Golf outing in the United States (that) has had two holes in one in the same day on holes giving away cars.”
His favorite aspect of the outings have been the commitment from the same two major sponsors for 10 years, McCormick Motors and Dr. Robert and Mrs. Abel.
“They have helped to make this outing consistently exciting,” Taylor said. “Without having their commitment, the outing would not be the same.”
It takes a lot of time to plan for the tournaments “to make it go smoothly and give it consistency,” he said.
There are 10 members on the committee who meet about 10 times between the golf outings each year.
“Their experience provides key leadership in areas that are often overlooked without experienced committee members,” Taylor said. “We try and improve every year.”
Does he golf and is he able to participate in the outings?
“Yes, I do golf. Some years I participate and some years, I’m too busy,” Taylor said, laughing. “It depends but it’s not a prerequisite for me to play.”
The golf outing will take place June 18 at McCormick Creek Golf Course in Nappanee and teams of four can still register by calling the Chamber at 574-773-7812.
“There are lots of golf clubs, balls and shoes for prizes. It’s a lot of fun for golfers. It’s not just a round of golf, it’s one contest after another,” Taylor said. “Lunch is provided and there are snacks, all kinds of snacks that vendors help us with. We have a pretty good reputation in the area after 10 years and it’s a very, very fun activity.”
Just the facts
Name: Greg Taylor
College: Ball State graduate, 1980
Hometown: Greenfield until moving to Nappanee in 1993
Daytime Job: Financial adviser with Guidance Wealth in Elkhart
Married to: Kimberly (Rensberger) Taylor, a Nappanee native
Children: Three grown, college-educated and married children: Ashleigh Helfrich (kindergarten teacher, Syracuse Elementary School); Nathan, a registered nurse at Borgess Hospital, Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Jordan, a registered nurse at Elkhart General.
Hobbies: Golf and reading
Other volunteer activities: Nappanee Missionary Church (usher, Wednesday men’s group, Friday Pastor’s Prayer Breakfast volunteer, 11 years) and Elkhart County Right to Life