Sports celebrities hit the links for charity

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VENICE - Every year, sports celebrities from the past 60 years gather for the Plantation Community Foundation Golf Classic. The 2013 tournament, held Thursday, raised money for local charities, and ABC 7 had a team in the tournament.

The tournament began years ago when guys like Wayne Garrett and Gary Peters wanted to give back to the community that they call home. Hundreds of thousands of dollars later, they are still at it with help from Ron Noble and Steve Rich. "They were retired. They had nothing else to do, and we told them if you want to do it, fine. They have taken it and run with it, and done a remarkable job," says Garrett.

Thursday’s tournament was just another chapter in the challenge to raise money for gifts and grants that go towards youth and elder programs, community, civic, cultural and many other activities. The Plantation Community Foundation has raised over $2.2 million since 1988. “It goes to multiple charities in the area. They like to do it locally as far as the charities are concerned," says Garrett.

It helps to have star power for an event that hopes to raise money, and the golf classic had 60 celebrities to aid the cause including world champion former Boston Celtic Sam Jones. “It’s for a wonderful cause. And when you think about that, this is done for the Venice and Sarasota communities. They are helping our people," said Jones.

The ABC 7 team, which included Chief Meteorologist Bob Harrigan, Ken Long, Vann Smith and Don Brennan, also had the 1967 National League Cy Young Award winner, Mike McCormack. It was a phenomenal day for a wonderful cause.

“It’s been many years, and I am enjoying it. Every year that I am here, I know that I am alive and doing it for a good cause," says Jones.