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Tournament makes top 10 again

This year organizers of the 17th annual golf tournament known as The Tucker have gone beyond last year’s $50,000 mark in raising money for the charitable organization Folds of Honor Foundation and have become one of the foundation’s top 10 fundraising events nationwide for the second year in a row.

The Tucker was started 17 years ago to honor Lt. Michael Tucker Smith, a West Point graduate, who was tragically killed in an automobile accident on Aug. 31, 1996. Friends and family have gathered each year to honor Smith’s life since then. The Tucker golf tournament has grown in popularity each year, selling out spots on the course well ahead of schedule.

Josh Smith, Tucker’s brother and an organizer for the event, said they started partnering with Folds of Honor two years ago, and this will be the third year with the foundation. The foundation provides scholarships for the wives and children of men and women who have lost their lives or become disabled in service of the U.S. military.

“When we were doing this originally,” Smith said. “We did like $10,000 each year for Habitat for Humanity. Then two years ago when we started this new partnership, we raised $25,000. Then last year it was $50,000, and this year with 76 golfers – that’s capacity and then some – and 24 ladies in the tennis tournament, then with all the corporate sponsors we have we are tentatively looking at $75,000 this year. It just goes to show you how patriotic Mississippians are and how much they support our troops.”

For 14 years the Tucker was able to fund the Lincoln County Habitat for Humanity chapter. In 2010 the tournament partnered with Folds of Honor. Smith said the relationship they have had with this organization has been rewarding for both sides.

“This is the third year we have partnered with Folds of Honor,” Smith said. “Two years ago we were a top 25 fundraiser for them. Last year and this year we have been a top 10. And, that’s out of 4,500 golf courses this year nationwide that participate in Patriot Golf Day.”

Five years ago Folds of Honor founded Patriot Golf Day, the Saturday before Labor Day each year, and asked golfers across the nation to donate at least $1 to the organization. Golf courses around the country began hosting golf tournaments, and today 4,500 charitable golf tournaments are scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

Smith said every penny they raise goes to Mississippians.

“All the money raised stays in Mississippi,” Smith said. “We awarded 10 scholarships after last year’s event, and with results like we had this year, we may be able to honor all of Mississippi’s scholarship requests for the year.”

Smith said the tennis tournament added to this year’s itinerary helped boost the numbers, too, and they plan on running it again next year.

“The tennis tournament has done well – it’s the first year for it, so we are still working out the kinks. We’ve got the golf tournament planning down to a science – this thing has become unbelievable, but we are planning to have the tennis tournament next year, too.”

To see a schedule of events for the tournament visit www.thetucker.org. Or visit www.foldsofhonor.org to find out more about the foundation.

Today a practice round for the two-man match play event will be held at the Brookhaven Country Club golf course at noon until 6 p.m. Then a pairings party is from 7 till 11 p.m.

Saturday golf and tennis tournaments begin at 8 a.m., lunch at noon, with golf and tennis from 1 to 6 p.m. There will be a cocktail party from 7 to 11 p.m.

Sunday golf and tennis are from 8 a.m. till 1 p.m., lunch at noon, afternoon golf and tennis are 1 to 6 p.m. with a pool party from 4 to 6 p.m.

Monday the final rounds for golf and tennis tournaments are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the award presentation from 2 to 3 p.m.

To donate to the foundation, make checks payable to Folds of Honor and mail to P.O. Box 910, Brookhaven, MS 39602.