Heidi Wininger is a longtime volunteer when it comes to the LPGA event at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Community service is a family tradition for Perrysburg’s Heidi Wininger.
The elementary school teacher continues to uphold the tradition as a volunteer at the Marathon Classic.
Wininger was just 4 years old when she first got involved with the annual LPGA tournament in Sylvania. Wininger was only a toddler when she accompanied her parents, Rob and Linda, at the Ronald McDonald House charity tent.
MARATHON CLASSIC: Everything you need to know for the LPGA tournament at BCSN.tv/MarathonClassic
This year Wininger will serve as the tournament’s assistant volunteer chairman. Once again her parents, who have volunteered all 32 years of the tournament’s existence, also will be out at Highland Meadows Golf Club doing their part.
“My parents have always been very big into volunteering in the community. I’m following in their footsteps,” Wininger said.
The third-grade teacher said she particularly enjoys the charitable aspect of the event. More than $543,000 was raised at the 2016 Marathon Classic and given to 19 children’s charities.
“It changes people’s lives,” Wininger said. “The money we raise helps so many northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan charities.”
Wininger said it is rewarding to attend the annual gala event in December when the funds are handed out. The event has raised $9.8 million for 170 area charities since its inception for thousands of children in seven northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan counties.
In the past, Wininger has served as the tournament’s Events Chairman. She oversaw the kickoff party, volunteer party, the celebrity pro-ams, and annual gala.
This year she is assisting Karen Rose, the tournament’s volunteer chairman.
“I’ll oversee a lot of different areas and committees from players services, parking lots, spectator services, and tent city,” she said. “I’ll be involved in all the areas. Anything they need me to do, I will do.”
Through the years Wininger also has been a runner and served at the media tent, volunteer tent, as well as with spectator and player services.
“Events are my favorite,” she said.
Wininger, who teaches at SunBridge Academy Schools, has been an educator for 15 years. Although she is not a golfer, she said enjoys mingling with the LPGA players.
“I enjoy watching them,” she said. “It’s fun to interact with them in the locker room and parking lot. I like being up close and personal with them.”
She said her favorite in the past was Meg Mallon, and she now also roots for Morgan Pressel.
Wininger said during the week of the event many of the volunteers put in 12 to 14 hours of work each day.
“I’ve had friends come out and help,” she said.
Wininger said she enjoys seeing the young volunteers — some as young as she was when she started — as well as those that have been involved since the beginning like her parents.
“I’ve been involved for many years. I love all the little ones and all the older ones,” Wininger said.