BY SHELTON STARK, GUEST WRITER TO THE TIMES
WINTER GARDEN – On August 20, 2022, an otherwise hot and steamy Central Florida Saturday, the Friendship Foundation, Inc. in conjunction with Chi Tau Graduate Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (of Greater Orlando) hosted its 19th annual Chapter’s Founders Golf Tournament at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Fl. Teams of golfers from as far away as Jacksonville, Tampa, and all corners of the I-4 corridor converged on OCN to compete for prizes and bragging rights to raise funds to help Central Florida high school seniors in their pursuit to obtain scholarships for college and secondary education. The Chapter’s Founders Golf Tournament is the signature fund raising event for the Friendship Foundation, and 2022 marked the return of the tournament to OCN after a multi-year hiatus. Through charitable donations, sponsorships, and resolute golfers, the foundation has awarded more than a million dollars in scholarships since the tournament’s inception in August 2003.
The golfers were treated to a smorgasbord lunch compliment of OCN, and door prizes, raffles, and special mementos served as an appetizer to the entrée of awards. In the women’s competition, Jennifer White took home the Furthest Drive award, and Esther Wilson was awarded the prize for Closest to the Pin. In the men’s competition the Closest to the Pin award went to Anthony Williams, and the Furthest Drive prize was awarded to J. Blackwell. In team trophies, the Women’s First Place award went to the team of Ereka Watson-Lee, Jennifer White, Georgia Martin, and LaChavious Clark, representing Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (Psi Theta Omega Chapter). The Men’s First Place Team trophy was awarded to Tim James, Joe Rosa, Alberic Jemison, and Paul Gomez with a score of 54 (18 under par). And right behind them in Second Place with a score of 55 (17 under par) was the team of George Brooks, Leon Gant, Kevin Garcia, and Thurman Granville.
With a momentous sense of pride, Foundation President Gregory Richardson stated “COVID-19 slowed us down the last couple of years, but the turnout today is a true testament of our hard work and determination to lift as we climb. Even the heat couldn’t slow us down today.” During the award presentation ceremony Richardson paid homage to the previous Friendship Foundation President William “Bill” Asbury, who passed away last year. “I’m sure many of you knew Bill Asbury and the tremendous effort he put into our previous tournaments. His passing left us with big shoes to fill, but with your support and the committee’s hard work, I feel he would be proud of our efforts today. Thank you all for making this a memorable event and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”