April 28, 2008 was a tragic day that changed the lives of Donnie and Pam Marion forever, but in response to the tragedy, the actions of two of Donnie Marion’s friends are bettering the lives of children in the area.
Pfc. Adam Marion, a 2000 graduate of Surry Central High School, died while serving with the Army National Guard in Baghdad, Iraq.
Donnie Marion, his father, said he had been on route clearance, driving a Husky searching for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosively formed penetrators (EFPs). “He had just come back from a mission and got caught in a missile attack,” explained Marion.
During high school, Marion volunteered with the Children’s Center of Surry, and Donnie said he also worked there some during college. “Even when he was on leave in March, he stopped there a couple of times. He just always loved kids, and even in high school when he volunteered there, he brought a little boy home for Christmas day with him,” he said. “Even in Iraq, he had a lot of pictures with kids and giving candy to them. He just loved kids.”
Marion’s big heart for children continues to serve the community. After the Marions lost their son, Donnie said two of his friends, Ralph Holt and John Lawson, decided to organize a fundraiser in memory of Adam. “They were really good friends with Adam, even though they are my age, and they both had sons the same age as Adam who were friends.”
“The first tournament was held in 2006. We always do it the last Thursday in April,” said Donnie of what will be the eighth annual Pfc. Adam Lee Marion Memorial Golf Tournament this year. It is held at Cedarbrook Country Club.
Even in its first year, the tournament has had two flights of players, and since its second year, it’s had a full slate of 248 golfers take the course at Cedarbrook, Donnie said. “We turn people away every year,” he said, adding of the support for the cause, “It’s just humbling. We’re really proud of what’s been accomplished for him in his memory.”
Half of the field of players take the course at 8 a.m., this year it will be April 28, with the second group of 124 golfers teeing off at 1 p.m.
For those not already signed up to play, Donnie said there are opportunities to support the fundraiser benefiting the Children’s Center of Surry, which has homes for children in Surry and Yadkin counties and serves children from Surry, Yadkin, Alleghany, Stokes and Wilkes counties.
“They can do sponsorships, contribute money or hole sponsors or door prizes,” he said. “We are unlike a lot of nonprofit fundraising organizations, 100 percent of the money we raise goes to the Children’s Center, every penny.”
Donnie said he and his wife, Pam, along with their daughter, Adrian McCann and her husband, Terry, and children, Connor and Marissa, want the community to know “just how proud we are of Adam and proud to be part of Surry County, that’s so good about giving back, and how good everyone in Surry County is in remembering Adam and supporting the children,” Donnie said.
To inquire about supporting the golf tournament, contact one of the many organizers of the event: Cedarbrook, 336-835-2320; Ralph Holt, 336-325-9559; Wayne Atkins, 336-401-6354; Wayne Swift, 336-366-0299; Travis Holt, 336-325-5505; Brian McPeak, 336-401-5509; Todd Dockery, 336-244-8909; John Lawson, 336-428-8637; Dale White, 336-756-5113; Todd Hiatt, 336-355-8886; Britta Needham, 336-755-7286; Anthony Kiger, 336-755-7771; Brad Coalson, 336-755-4815; Jim Wilmoth, 336-406-4414; Chris Lane, 336-469-0960; Neil Cothren, 336-928-0788; Justin Seivers, 336-469-3034.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.