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Marathon Classic's commitment to help children inspires volunteer Gibbs

07/13/2014, 12:00am EDT
By STEVE JUNGA BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Tourney's commitment to kids inspires
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Carol Gibbs has been working at the LPGA tournament since 1990 and this year is the Volunteer Tournament Chairman. THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT

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Carol Gibbs was first introduced to what is now called the Marathon Classic in 1988. She liked what she saw and has been a volunteer serving in multiple capacities since 1990.

The reasons she has kept coming back year after year are pretty simple: The volunteer staff has become like another family to her, and she has seen first hand the major benefit this LPGA event provides to local charities each year.

“You have to give back,” said Gibbs, who this year is serving as Volunteer Tournament Chairman. “A lot of us have a lot of blessings that we don’t take into consideration. Others don’t have those blessings. We’re helping out.”

Gibbs of Temperance has also involved her family in the spirit of volunteerism at the tournament at Highland Meadows Golf Club. Her husband, Jim, has worked several tournaments over the years, and this year their daughter, Taylor, 21, will be the co-director of the volunteer tent, and son Dylan, 16, will be co-director of communications.

“We’re trying to drill it into them young,” Gibbs said of the volunteer spirit.

Gibbs first saw the event’s benefit when she worked for M & M, a distribution company for area McDonald’s restaurants. From its outset the former Farr Classic was linked with raising funds for Toledo’s Ronald McDonald House.

Her respect for what the tournament did for local children’s charities only grew after she gave birth to her son.

“I was advocate for Ronald McDonald House and sat on their board of directors and their grant committee,” Gibbs said. “In 1998, when I had my son, he was in the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] at Toledo Hospital. That gave me the opportunity to see other parents who had sick children.

“A lot of those parents there didn’t know they could go to the Ronald McDonald House for a day or a night. There was nothing at the hospital that told the parents about it.

“The amount of money that the tournament raises for the house on an annual basis really funds their operational expenses. Any parents who stay there can do so without any out-of-pocket charge.”

Gibbs, who now works at Modern Builders Supply in kitchen design and sales, manages to reserve enough time on the side each year to devote to her role as a tournament volunteer.

Through the years she has been director of the volunteer tent, chairman of events, one of the operations chairmen, and this is her second go-round as volunteer tournament chairman.

She attends monthly planning meetings throughout the year, and tournament week she typically spends 60 to 70 hours at the course, which she sees as a labor of love.

“We’re a family,” Gibbs said. “What keeps me coming back are the people who are volunteers, the fantastic staff at the tournament office, and of course the money that we raised for the local children’s charities that stays right here in Ohio and Michigan.”

Gibbs isn’t in it for pats on the back, but her efforts have been obvious to those she works for.

“Carol definitely has a passion for the tournament and what it means to be able to help so many children’s charities in northwest Ohio,” said volunteer coordinator Heather Warga. “She is part of this core group of volunteers, which is like a family, and she sees the end result and what it means.”

Tournament director Judd Silverman is also appreciative that Gibbs is on board each year.

“She’s just been a very devoted, loyal volunteer who’s always been willing to give tons of time for the betterment of the tournament,” Silverman said.

“What makes me feel good about doing this is that I’ve seen the results at the Ronald McDonald House from the money we’ve raised, and I’ve seen what happens at the other charities that benefit from the tournament,” Gibbs said. “That makes me feel good, being able to help them. The best thing to know when you’re volunteering is that the end result is you’re helping kids.”

Contact Steve Junga at: sjunga@theblade.com, 419-724-6461 or on Twitter @JungaBlade.

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Tag(s): Golf  Steve Junga