Front row: Frank Beamer, Alan Levine, Steve Johnson, Scott Niswonger, Gene Sauers, Corey Pavin, Joe Durant.Back row: Scrubs the Bear, Jim Stuckey, Dan Marino, Ken Whisenhunt, Carroll Dale, Wesley Walls, Jason Witten, Loren Roberts, Dr. Bill Evans (St. Jud
Sports celebrities and supporters of 2014 Niswonger Children’s Hospital Golf Classic came together Monday to raise raised about $700,000.
Organized by Mountain States Foundation, the tournament was played at The Virginian Golf Club in Bristol and featured sports celebrities including NFL greats Peyton Manning, Jason Witten and Dan Marino, NFL head coach Ken Whisenhunt of the Tennessee Titans, pro golfers Corey Pavin and Larry Mize, and college coaching legends Frank Beamer from Virginia Tech, Phil Fulmer from the University of Tennessee and Bruce Pearl, former UT basketball coach and the new head coach at Auburn.
Pro golfers Joe Durant, Loren Roberts and Gene Sauers and former NFL standouts Wesley Walls, Carroll Dale, Jim Stuckey and Steve Johnson, a commercial developer in Bristol and one of the driving forces behind the benefit, also played in the tournament.
Part of a two-day fund-raising celebration, the tournament was held in conjunction with a benefit concert featuring The Band Perry of Greeneville. Prior to the concert, the golf tournament’s sports celebrities attended a VIP Par-Tee that also raised funds for the children’s hospital.
Businessman and philanthropist Scott Niswonger, founder of LandAir Transport Corp. in Greeneville, is the hospital’s chief benefactor and one of the tournament’s lead organizers.
“I’m certain the children’s hospital was the best investment I ever made,” Niswonger said. “Our motto is ‘Learn, earn and return,’ and to support a cause like this is a great way to return something back to the community.”
Located in Johnson City the hospital serves more than 200,000 children from a 29-county region covering Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and parts of Kentucky and North Carolina.
Alan Levine, President and CEO of Mountain States Health Alliance, the parent company of Niswonger Children’s Hospital, expressed his gratitude to the many sponsors and celebrities who took part in the benefit.
“The investment made in Niswonger Children’s Hospital by so many people will yield incredible returns for the families in our region,” Levine said. “Providing these services locally means families don’t have to travel hundreds of miles from home to get the life-saving services they need. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone who supported this great event.”
Manning said it was an honor for him take part. “It’s great fellowship, great fun and also a great cause,” he said.