Tee up for a good cause

The Ocala Lions Club-Jerry Cullison Memorial Golf Tournament is celebrating its 29th year.


In this file photo, Charles Hitchcox casts a long shadow as he putts on the practice putting green at the Ocala Golf Club on East Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted November 21, 2022 | By Lion Kathleen Snyder

Dec. 3, 2022, will mark the 29th anniversary of one of the oldest charity events in Ocala. The Ocala Lions Club-Jerry Cullison Memorial Golf Tournament will tee off with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. at the Ocala Golf Club (locally known as “Muni”) on Silver Springs Boulevard.

Jerry Cullison was an Ocala native and longtime member of the Ocala Lions Club, among many other community organizations. He formed Cullison Builders in 1962 and, in 1973, Cullison-Wright Construction Corp. Cullison passed away in 2019 at the age of 86.

This scramble format tournament, presented by Cullison-Wright Construction, is looking for 25 amateur foursomes, with an entry fee of $75 per player. In addition to helping fund the club’s charities for the coming year, the entry includes a continental breakfast, catered lunch, goody bag, range balls and greens and cart fees.

There will be Hole In One prizes on the line, including a car (Phillips Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Ram), a golf cart (STM Golf Carts), maybe a boat (Miller’s Marine) or $10,000 in cash (Palermo Medicare and Boar’s Nest Farm, LLC.) There also will be a raffle for a 60+ inch television. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams and for the longest drive and closest-to-the-pin.

In understanding which local charities will benefit from Ocala Lions Club efforts, part of the answer goes back to 1925, when Helen Keller spoke at a Lions Clubs International Convention and challenged Lions to become, “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” Lions accepted that challenge and for nearly 100 years sight and hearing programs have been a major focus of their work.

The Ocala Lions Club supports nine vision/hearing charities yearly, including The Florida Foundation for the Blind, Florida School for the Deaf/Blind, Florida Lions Eye Bank, North East Florida Hearing Aid Bank, Inc. and Southeastern Guide Dogs. Every dollar raised by the Ocala Lions Club goes directly to support our various programs.

The club also funds more than seven other worthy causes that support Marion County children. The KidSight Eye Screening program for pre-schoolers scans children’s eyes, looking for anomalies that might lead to amblyopia, a brain/eye disorder that can result in loss of vision. Each year, the Silent Santa program provides gifts to more than 600 needy children in Marion County families. Club members also support Take Stock in Children, which seeks to help underserved children excel in school and break the cycle of poverty through education, and helping Boy Scouts earn their Eagle Scout badge. The club also awards several yearly scholarships at the College of Central Florida in the areas of nursing or vision. And their helping hands are not limited to Marion County; they routinely donate money to disaster relief wherever they see the need and know they can help.

And all this help depends on proceeds from the 29th Ocala Lions Club-Jerry Cullison Memorial Golf Tournament on Dec. 3.

Here’s your chance to get some exercise, hang out with friends on a Saturday morning and do good in the world all at one time. Get your foursome together or come on down and join a team.

For more information, call Garry Adel at (352) 895-1084 or Barry Fies at (352) 362-7713.