Playing golf to rebuild communities

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by Rachel Moreno — April 15, 2014

DALLAS – On April 7, the Dallas Athletic Club hosted the inaugural Texas Baptists Golf Classic, benefitting Disaster Recovery. Special guests included first responders from the West explosion and EF5 tornado in Moore, OK, both taking place almost a year ago.

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Chris Liebrum, director of Church Ministry Resources and tournament director said, “We were honored to host first responders from two of the communities that we are currently serving. Their presence at our tournament was a reminder that these disasters involve real people.”

Sitting at the clubhouse proudly donning a West hat and sweatshirt, George Nors Jr., firefighter and father of two boys, said, “We are grateful to be here so we can show thanks for what y’all have done. At the time of the explosion there was so much going on we weren’t able to say a proper thank you.”

Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery was one of the first groups to aid in the West recovery movements. Their presence is still felt there as over 300 students and parents sacrificed their spring break to clear debris so new houses can be built.

Kirk Hatcher, youth minister of FBC Norman, reflected Nors’ sentiments. “So many people have come to help us with the effects of the storm, many of them connected with the Texas Baptists.”

The tournament was funded through sponsors, donors and event fees, with the Baptist Church Loan Corporation serving as the title sponsor. 229 people from all over Texas came to show their support and play golf raising approximately $25,000. Several participants voiced how honored they were to meet and play next to these first responders who continually put their lives on the line for the betterment of others, even after the devastation they have witnessed.

At the conclusion of the tournament Liebrum said, “I appreciate so much our sponsors who made the event possible and helped us raise funds to support our disaster work in West, Moore and the Philippines.”

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Dustin Horstkoetter, one of the first officers to respond to the elementary schools hit by the Moore tornado, confessed, “It’s every day. You constantly come into contact with someone who’s been affected by it.”

The first responders believe that these disasters have given them each a new respect for what they do and a desire to keep moving forward. Both events have drawn these communities closer together and have created a desire to thrive despite the disasters instead of being defined by them.

Thanks to the money raised by the tournament and the continual efforts of Disaster Recovery, the rebuilding of these communities continues. Horstkoetter nobly stated, “We have been through the relief and recovery phases. Now we can start rebuilding.”

For more information on the recovery efforts in West, Moore and the Philippines visit http://texasbaptists.org/disaster/ or contact Marla Bearden at marla.bearden@texasbaptists.org.

Please join us on April 27, 2015 at TPC San Antonio for the 2nd Annual Texas Baptists Golf Classic. For more information on this tournament contact Chris Liebrum at chris.liebrum@texasbaptists.org.

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