Charity spotlight: Shriners Hospital Dads

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Their old passenger van pushed past 200,000 on the odometer several miles back, leading to natural concerns about a breakdown during an important mission.

However, the Springfield-based Shriners Hospital Dads – and the kids and their families which they transport to regional hospitals – are now riding in style, thanks to the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.

Thanks to a sizeable donation from the PCCC a year ago, the Shriners Hospital Dads now have something they can count on weekly – a 15-seat passenger van, complete with the PCCC logo emblazoned on its outside panels.

The van symbolizes all the great donations over the years to the PCCC, which has raised almost $13 million for Ozarks-area children’s charities in the past 26 years. And now here is your chance to help again.

“Some kids we’ve transported for 10 years, sometimes every month and every week,” said Dick Fuller of the Abou Ben Adhem Mosque. The Hospital Dads are in their eighth year with the PCCC. “It’s a 10-hour round trip. By the time you get home, you realize you don’t have any problems in life. The kids and their families we take, they have challenges. Financially, they couldn’t afford to go.”

About the Shriner’s Hospital Dads

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For the Shriners Hospital Dads, the PCCC’s mission mirrors their own. The idea of transporting kids to Shriners hospitals in St. Louis, Cincinnati and Chicago grew out of need in the late 1990s. Regardless of a family’s financial situation, the Dads transport the family and their kids – some who were born with cleft palates, or were battling scoliosis or recovering from severe burns. Soon, a van was purchased, and some of the retirees of the Abou Ben Adhem took the lead as drivers. Fuller was among them.

What an emotional day it can be. One year alone, the van made 99 trips.

“I think my first trip to the hospital, it was an adventure because you didn’t know what you were getting into,” Fuller said, noting most trips leave at 4 a.m. in order to meet 8 a.m. doctor’s appointments in St. Louis. “But when you meet them downtown at the Shrine, they’re all bundled up because of all kinds of weather … it starts to get emotional right there.”

The Shriners Hopsital Dads, part of the Abou Ben Adhem Shriners of Springfield, showed off their new van Monday during Media Day.
The Shriners Hopsital Dads, part of the Abou Ben Adhem Shriners of Springfield, showed off their new van Monday during Media Day.

As expected, the Shriners most recent van logged thousands of miles in short order. Kids with scoliosis or other orthopedic issues needed rides to St. Louis. Those with cleft palates needed transportation to Chicago, and so the Shriners drove their families to the St. Louis airport and made certain they could cover cab fare once in the Windy City. The Cincinnati Shriners hospital cares for kids recovering from burns.

Volunteering at the PCCC

The back of the Shriners Hospital Dads' new van.
The back of the Shriners Hospital Dads’ van.

To make a new van possible, the Shriners go all out for the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper. They gather about 65 people, including their wives and teenage children, and volunteer during the August tournament.

Most years, you’ll see Mike Edwards on hole No. 1, or Dan Lawler driving vehicles that transport the professional golfers across the city. Fuller mans the driving range. They are among the hundreds of volunteers that help make the tournament a success. (Mark Bohon, who recently passed away, was a regular for years.)

However, their support of the tournament does not begin there. Like all other PCCC charities, they will spend this summer selling the $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes tickets, which are good for a four-day tournament pass as well as entry for daily prizes. Additionally, fans are entered to win grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2016 Ford F-150 truck.

“This has been absolutely a tremendous shot in the arm, this Price Cutter tournament, for several reasons,” Fuller said. “For one, you have to have some kind of project to keep the Shriners units involved and excited about something. And, two, this helps us support the hospitals by supporting other projects with other budgeted money.”

Call it a labor of love for the Shriners, Fuller said in so many words.

“It got started because the Shriners, when we would sponsor a child, we took the responsibility of transporting them to St. Louis,” Fuller said. “If they needed a ride or help, it would be my responsibility. As time went on, we saw more and more of a need. And people just don’t have the time to do it. And families don’t have the finances or vehicles to get to the hospital.”

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WAYS TO SUPPORT THE SHRINERS HOSPITAL DADS

CORPORATE SKYBOXES on the 9th and 18th greens, and tents on the 18th fairway

These include covered seating and all-inclusive badges into the Jackson Brothers of the South VIP Tent (food and beverages).

Watch from the "front fow" on the 18th green
Watch from the “front fow” on the 18th green

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PRO-AMS: Play with a pro & enjoy top courses such as Highland Springs, Buffalo Ridge Golf Course, LedgeStone Country Club, Millwood Golf & Racquet Club & Fremont Hills Country Club. Includes a great golfer gift package, continental breakfast, lunch, on-course beverages, team photos & trophies. Check out our list of golf experiences

The Chris Hamon-led White River Valley Foundation team came decked out in camo rain gear in 2016.
The Chris Hamon-led White River Valley Foundation team came decked out in camo rain gear to the 2016 Price Cutter Pro-Am.

ON-COURSE SPONSORSHIPS

Bleachers, water coolers and much more can help generate interest in your business, and will go a long way toward helping kids in the Ozarks. See our full menu of options.

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HONORING OUR HEROES PROGRAM

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A great way to support military, law enforcement and first responders as well Ozarks children’s charities — as they receive free admission as well as food and drinks thanks to your sponsorships. Follow this link

$25 TLC PROPERTIES SWEEPSTAKES TICKETS

They are only $25 each, and gives the ticket-buyer a chance to win a 2017 Ford F-150, or $10,000, plus daily prizes during the tournament. Check out the details here.

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GOLF BALL & CHARITY AUCTION

Sponsored by Copy Products Inc. and University Plaza, this event is on Tuesday, August 8 at University Plaza Convention Center. We’ll also have electronic bidding at bidpal.net! Register at this link.

THE ULTIMATE presented by Custom Metalcraft & Ridewell Suspensions

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Win a 2017 Corvette Stingray, as a $1,200 buy-in guarantees a 1-in-100 chance of winning the car and a 1-in-10 chance of winning $1,000. You’ll also receive many other perks, including air-conditioned seating on the 18th green during the PCCC along with clubhouse parking, a luxurious dinner on Friday, August 4 at Highland Springs Country Club as well as breakfast and lunch in the clubhouse daily during the PCCC, plus his and her shirts.

FOR ANY SPONSORSHIP, CALL 417-887-3400