GAINESVILLE - When three young men from Hall County lost the fourth man in their foursome after his struggle with prescription drug addiction, they knew they wanted to do something to memorialize their friend and help others at the same time.
So in 2013, Tim Cox, Colin Sawyer and Tom Johnson organized the Jeffrey Gay Memorial Golf Classic. About 40 golfers showed up and the event raised $3,400, enough to make a nice donation to the "Think About It" campaign. (See link below.)
This year, organizers have seen the golf classic grow into a full-fledged fund-raising event with a full field of 120 players, making up 30 teams. They say most of those participating are between the ages of 20 to 30, the age range of Jeffrey Gay's circle of friends.
The fundraising goal for 2014 is $20,000 and organizers said this week they are very close to that number. The more money they raise, the more they can donate to a cause that will help other young people battling the demons of addiction.
According to organizers of the golf classic, the "Think About It" program is designed to educate the public - as well as members of the medical field - on the dangers of prescription drugs when those medications are mismanaged. The program was the brainchild of Dr. Jack Chapman, Dr. Tenant Slack and Dallas Gay, Jeffrey Gay's grandfather.
After watching his grandson Jeffrey struggle with drugs, Gay wanted to do something to make a difference. Gay has the support of Governor Nathan Deal and Lt. Governor Casey Cagle as the effort moves forward. The goal, said Gay, is to build a pilot program in Hall County that can be replicated in communities all over the state.
The 2014 Golf Classic is scheduled for Saturday, May 17 at Apple Mountain Resort and Golf Club in Clarkesville, Ga.
NOTE: To make a donation to this year's event, please send checks to P.O Box 2974, Gainesville, GA, 30503, Attention: Hilda Shockley. Checks should be written to the MAG foundation.