Friday, July 27, will mark the sixth Randy Smith-Volunteers In Medicine Benefit golf tournament. Just as in year one, it's held at Brown Acres. In the five previous tournaments, we have doubled the money to $40,000 in just five years, but VIM still needs your help.
A man told me a few days ago, after seeing the thirty second spot on channel 3, ":Randy you sure have done a good job with that VIM tournament." The only problem is, I have done nothing more than lend my name to the event, ask for a few donations and be there every year, posing for pictures. The real work is done by a score of true volunteers. Area businessmen like Gene Williford, Richard Franks, Greg Gray, Chris Helton. and many more are the ones who have done a great job for VIM. And VIM President Nancy Franks is one of the most wonderful, kindest people I have ever known. I am truly, very happy to have just a small part in this wonderful organization.
I had been approached several times about putting my name out front and sponsoring a benefit golf tournament. Every single group was a tremendous charity, but there was just something missing. I'm glad I waited until 2007 to make my choice. It was that year, I was approached by the folks at VIM. They had just opened their clinic that provides free medical care for uninsured people in Hamilton County, in 2005. They needed money to keep the doors open, because good medical care is still expensive, even though doctors visits and some equipment were donated. I took WRCB-TV Vice President and General Manager Tom Tolar to the clinic with me and we were absolutely blown away by what we saw. From that day in the late winter of 2007, we have been involved with VIM and are so very happy to still be involved. That first year, we made a little more than $20,000, which is a lot of money for a one day event. But that $20,000 would provide just a little more than two weeks of medical coverage. That still left fifty weeks that Volunteers in Medicine would have to raise money to help those with no medical insurance.
I felt really good about that $20,000, until I realized it would only keep the doors open for two weeks. We got down to work earlier the next year, and every year since, we've raised more money than the year before. In 2011, we hit the $40,000 mark, which covered almost a whole month of services. A week away from the 2012 event, we stand at around $32,000. We still need teams of golfers. We host two sessions, one in the morning and another flight in the afternoon. We provide breakfast, and lunch as well as nice trophies, and a gift bag for each and every golfer. We could also use a few more hole sponsors, or just simple donations. We have an anonymous benefactor who will match all donations, up to $10,000. We still have a week to go, but I'm sure we'll at least match last years total.
Our Savior said, " I was sick and you cared for me. Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me, you did it to me."
Even if you don't play golf, make a small, tax-deductible donation. You can get more information about the golf tournament or VIM by going to this website: www.vim-chatt.org
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Red Bank High School in Chattanooga. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).