OAKLAND Friday, June 20 at Lodestone Golf Club in McHenry, and Saturday, June 21 at Oakland Golf Club, the third WGW Benefit Golf Tournament will take place. On the surface, the event, founded and operated by Bill Weissgerber and open to the public, is like no other because it provides two days of golf on two different courses under the same umbrella (okay, poor word choice for a golf event). But there is so much more to the WGW Benefit beneath the surface because its genesis and its purpose grips your heart, breaks your heart, warms and enriches your heart all at once.
It is a golf tournament, but, really, it has very little to do with golf. It has to do with all that matters the most — children, and the tight loving grip of family and community.
Last year the WGW raised nearly $100,000 for local charities benefiting the youth of Garrett County:
• Landon’s Library provides books each month to every child born in Garrett County from date of birth until their first day of kindergarten, making it the first countywide effort of its kind in the state of Maryland. To date over 103,000 books have been distributed to children and their families along with Kindermusik and monthly playdates.
On Sept. 2, 2006, Landon Boal, the two-year old son of Brian and Crystal Boal died of Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) and his parents teamed with Weissgerber for the first golf tournament to start Landon’s Library.
• The Samantha Funding the Arts program supports and promotes the arts throughout the school system of Garrett County. Funding will be used for art supplies, field trips and projects of the arts.
On Dec. 8, 2012, Samantha Gibson, the 21-year old daughter of Charlie and June McClosky and sister of Nicole and Joe, died in an automobile accident. Samantha was a graduate of Southern High School and an art major in college. Her parents started The Samantha Funding the Arts program in her memory.
• The Andrew S. Woods Memorial Scholarship will be awarded each year to four outstanding academic and athletic students graduating from Southern Garrett High School and one student graduating from Northern Garrett High School, all of whom must attend a four-year school.
On Dec. 8, 2012, the same night of Samantha’s death, Southern High graduate Andrew Woods, the 34-year old son of Tom and Debbie Woods and brother of Josh Woods, died in a separate car accident. An attorney and a trust officer at First United Bank in Oakland at the time of his death, Andy left his wife Kyle and his eight-year old daughter Gabriel.
Along with their families, Landon, Samantha and Andy left the loving community of Garrett County, which has come together with Weissgerber, the Boal, McClosky and Woods families to form an extraordinary memorial to help the children of their county.
“When Andy and Samantha died, we were asked to be part of it,” said Tom Woods, the former Maryland Hall of Fame football coach and principal of Southern High. “We had thought about trying to raise $1,000 for a scholarship to give every year, but when we got involved with the WGW Benefit Golf Tournament, things just ballooned.