From left to right, Eleanor Saunders, Debbie Meegan, B. Lee Elam and Chuck Burgess, shortly before tee time for the B. Lee Elam Golf Classic, held on October 10 at Buckhorn Springs Country Club.

By Linda Chion Kenney

Ask attendees and benefactors why the B. Lee Elam Charity Golf Classic this year drew a record turnout and they’ll point to the namesake’s long-standing stature in the community and the three charities he selected to reap tournament proceeds.

In all, 125 golfers reportedly signed up to play at the October 10 tournament at Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club, which drew as well the executive directors of the benefiting charities: Eleanor Saunders of the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO), Deborah “Debbie” Meegan of the Outreach Clinic and Chuck Burgess of the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center (BSAC).

“People have a lot of respect for Lee and his legacy and they believe in our charities,” Burgess said.

“Anytime you can bring multiple charities together and they all benefit, that’s what’s best,” Saunders added, “because a win for them is a win for us.”

Lee said he is honored to see over the past 18 years the support his tournament commands; it started as an American Cancer Society fundraiser and for a number of years ran under the auspices of the Community Roundtable.

Stepping up to the plate now as a key player is Lee’s Rotary Club—the Rotary Club of Brandon—which counts as well among its members Saunders and past presidents Burgess and Meegan.

“A lot of good people are in the club; a lot of business people in the community who do a lot,” said Rotarian and tournament golfer J.J. Massaro of the original Beef ‘O’ Brady’s restaurant on Kings Ave.

“It’s hard not to get involved. You want to be a part of good charities.” In a word, tournament turnout was “amazing,” Meegan said, shortly before tee time.

“It sold out completely. Everybody wanted to come out and support Lee and the three charities. He has a heart and passion for supporting charities.”

Lee said he was humbled by the response.

“It’s just a very good feeling to know you have that kind of credibility, and that you can use if for a good cause,” he said.