Leila Sisson Case: It was a hail of a storm

Published 10:49 am Saturday, May 18, 2019

The first annual Georgia Southwestern State University “Hail Storm” spring signature fundraiser benefit for the athletic department last Friday was a tremendous success, according to GSW Athletic Director Mike Leeder.

The $100 ticket event, attracting almost 500 people from near and far, was held at Providence Spring Plantation north of Americus, and was an evening of fun and fellowship, a delicious buffet supper, and beverages of choice catered by Leon Holloway’s Cousins Catering and lively music provided by the Answer Band of Atlanta.

Highlight was hail of a different kind that fell. Instead of ice pellets falling from the sky, 1,500 golf balls numbered to coincide with the ticket holder’s name were dropped at 7:30 p.m. by a Huey helicopter provided by the Friends of Army Aviation based at Ozark, Alabama.

Then excitement reigned supreme. There were 10 lucky winners.

Those that had golf balls that landed closest to the target were awarded cash prizes; the two coming nearest to the mark receiving the largest amount. Golf ball number 1202, purchased by Jenn Smith of Americus, who works in the GSW Physical Department, walked away with the top prize of $25,000, and the ball landing second closest to the target belonged to Ricky Arnold, who received $10,000. Attendees having the third through ninth balls hitting closest to the target were awarded $1,000 each. They are in order: Deanna Beamon of Americus, The Matrix Department of Leesburg, George and Ann Peagler of Americus, Marty McDonald of Americus, Lovard McMichael of Americus, Tom McKenna of Columbus, and Dale Fordham of Metter. The ball landing farthest away from the target belonged to Ric Roderick of Metter, who also won $1,000.

The event raised $150,000 and after all was said and done, $80,000 of that will benefit the GSW athletic department, said Leeder. “It was a great event,” he said. “All of which represents the hard work of a lot of people who put in a great effort to make it successful. We look forward to next spring’s ‘Hail Storm’ and many more in the future.”

Then earlier this week, the Council of Safety Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution presented a $1,000 college scholarship award each to three high school graduating seniors that won the chapter’s annual essay contest. They are Dymond Tatum of Americus High School; Katie Carver, Southland Academy, and Skyler Anthony of Schley County. They each wrote on the subject, “What You Can Do to Serve Your Country in the 21st Century.” Their essays were judged best out of the more than 40 graduating seniors that submitted essays. Congratulations to all.

Georgia Southwestern State University’s commencement last week was outstanding, an event that possibly attracted more than ever friends and family of the more than 300 graduates. Thankfully I arrived early as parking and seating were quickly filling, but I found a parking space and a seat in the Storm Dome close enough to see our young friend Courtney Minix receive her diploma in business administration management. She is the daughter of Sarah and Steve McLain of Americus and Clint Minix of Newman. Afterwards, we chatted with Mimi Bagley Jennings of Soperton, who was awarded the masters in nursing degree. Last Saturday Courtney and her friend and fellow graduate, Kali McCalein of Hawkinsville, were honored at a taco-margarita pool party at the McLains’ home, Venison Vine Farms, that featured a taco truck, water slide, and other pool games enjoyed by about 60 friends and family of the honorees.

This weekend is sure to fill the town to capacity. The Americus Rotary Club’s annual Sheffield Gala at The Carnegie is tonight and the 50th reunion of members of Pi Kappa Phi, Gamma Xi chapter will convene at the Windsor Hotel while the annual alumni reunion of Sigma Chi fraternity is on campus.

And happy birthday to my grandson Beau Barrett, Clara Grace Shivers and her mom Jami Shivers, Carol Zabadah Brown, and JoAnn Pope.


Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.