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NMJC Foundation golf tournament raises scholarship money

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NMJC Foundation golf tournament raises scholarship money

PETER STEIN/NEWS-SUN

Times are tough. And affording college can be tough for some families even in the best of times.

So fundraising events like the one held by the New Mexico Junior College Foundation at Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs this past Saturday – the 23rd of its kind aimed at raising scholarship money for students who could really use it – are crucial.

Then consider Saturday’s numbers a success: 56 sponsors totaling $53,510, including sponsorships, player registration fees and mulligans, before expenses; 39 two-person teams equaling 78 golfers playing in the tournament. According to NMJC Foundation accountant Tina Kunko, the number of sponsors was back up to pre-COVID levels, and the number of golfers was about the average of the last few tournaments.

That, along with sunshine and no thunderstorms, made Saturday a great day at Rockwind, a great day for the NMJC Foundation, a great day for education opportunities.

“The main function is to raise funds for scholarships, work study and NMJC programs,” Rachel Gallagher, Vice President for Advancement for NMJC, said. “When the foundation was formed, it became apparent that we needed a large event that helped bring in money for student scholarships. The basis of it is, the students are the main group we want to help.”

“You can be a full-time student, a part-time student, it’s split various different ways,” NMJC Director of Marketing Valerie Onsurez-Gauna said.

NMJC grants more than 200 scholarships annually, according to Gallagher. “And the majority (of that funding) comes from this tournament, and some generous donors and endowments,” Gallagher noted.

“This is the NMJC Foundation’s biggest scholarship fundraising event,” Onsurez-Gauna said. “Everything’s gone really good. We’re pretty much on par – no pun intended – with the amount of teams. The fundraiser, as far as the sponsors, is the best ever for ruby sponsors this year – which is great, that’s our highest tier. Typically we’d only have one or two, but this year we’ve had three or four ruby sponsors, so that’s great. Golfers seem to be pretty happy with the swag that we gave this year, and we always try to keep that within reason. Obviously this is a fundraiser, but no complaints so far.”

The swag consisted of various handy items.

“We will have sponsors who will donate things,” Onsurez-Gauna said. “For example, David Whitten from State Farm will donate Chapstick and sunscreen and hand sanitizer, things like that. But our main item is a tumbler that has NMJC engraved on it.”

Competition-wise, the team of James Owensby and Rick Black finished first, James and Seth Lackey were second, Flo and Chris Prieto third, Johnny and Freddy Rangel fourth.

Everyone who golfed, regardless of what they won, seemed to be having a great time. Jason Sanchez and Rocio Venegas of Eunice were golfing through Chevron. And they were happy to be part of the fundraising effort.

“It’s great,” Venegas said on Rockwind’s 16th green.

“It helps a lot of kids out so they can get scholarships,” Sanchez said on the 16th.

Linda Mota of Eunice was part of a group that golfed through Estacado Federal Credit Union, and she was happy to participate for the cause. “It raises a lot of money, it’s good,” Mota said after putting on the 12th green.

Nick Cooper and Ted Frost golfed through Chevron, and they came up from Carlsbad to do so.

“Oh, I think it’s awesome,” Cooper said after teeing off at hole 18. “It gives more options to kids graduating high school, more career paths going forward.”

“The possibility of helping kids who may not have that opportunity,” Frost said from the 18th.

Chris Davis also made the trip up from Carlsbad.

“Just to support NMJC,” he said. “My son (Clayton) went to school there back in, gosh, 2012. He played golf here for a short stint. I drive back and forth all the time to play here; it’s a beautiful place.”

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