Local News

April 24, 2014

Werner Braun and Mary Braun: Long swing of Roman Open reaches many

Some may have noticed that my column has been missing from the paper for several weeks. And some may not have noticed and could care less. Regardless, thank you for reading this far.

I wasn’t sure whether to continue this column since I retired, but have received so much encouragement that I decided to carry on. So here “we” are. I say we because my wife, Mary, and I will be co-writing this column together. The good news is Mary is a trained writer.

Our plan is to write about things that interest us, and hopefully are of interest to you; things that are uplifting about Dalton and Whitfield County and perhaps thought-provoking subjects.

Today’s column is of the uplifting variety. I am sure many of you, especially the golfers out there, are aware of the Roman Open Golf Tournament, but there is much more to this event than just a great day of golf. Here is a brief history of this worthwhile endeavor.

The Roman Open Golf Tournament was founded in 1975 by a group of gentlemen from the local Catholic and Episcopal churches and the Jewish synagogue with the intent to raise money to put a new roof on the Catholic Church. Due to its success in the first year, the tournament became an annual event.

By 1984, the tournament had grown to a point that part of the annual proceeds was donated to Friendship House (a day care center and preschool for underprivileged children) to help offset its costs. In 1990, the board of directors, by this time mostly non-Catholic, incorporated to become Roman Open Charities Inc. At this junction, the decision was made to move away from any direct religious affiliation and become a charitable association donating all proceeds to nonprofit organizations operating in Whitfield and Murray counties.

Today a 30-member board of directors governs the Roman Open Charities Inc. In partnership with the name sponsors, the Dalton Golf and Country Club (DGCC) and Alliant Health Plans, an annual fundraising golf tournament is held at the DGCC. All monies from the tournament are distributed to local charities that have petitioned for a grant. An internal committee from the board of directors determines petitioners’ qualifications and amounts of the grants to be awarded. Total grants for 2013 were $106,000, distributed to 34 local charities, two memorial scholarships to Dalton State College and eight merit scholarships to Georgia Northwestern Technical College.

The 39th Annual Alliant Health Plans-Dalton Golf and Country Club Roman Open Golf Tournament will be Monday, May 12, at the Dalton Golf and Country Club. A shotgun start is scheduled for teams at 8 a.m. and at 2 p.m. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Participants must be in their carts and on their assigned tee by 7:45 a.m. for the morning flight and 1:45 p.m. for the afternoon flight.

If you would like more information about this worthwhile event, contact romanopencharities@yahoo.com.

I hope you will join us in supporting this very worthwhile charity and enjoy a great day of golf and fellowship. I will be there as always, despite this big retirement honey-do list I have.

 Werner Braun is the retired president of the Dalton based Carpet and Rug Institute.

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