GOLF: West Texas Food Bank set to host Nick Williams Memorial Golf Tournament

West Texas Food Bank operations have been front and center in the Permian Basin since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And after a challenging year where get-togethers were scarce, staff and volunteers of the Food Bank are looking forward to getting back closer to normal.

Despite the challenges that 2020 provided like the cancellation of numerous events and fundraisers, one event that still went on as scheduled was the Nick Williams Memorial Golf Tournament.

The four-man scramble that started in 2014 to benefit the West Texas Food Bank tees Thursday at Odessa Country Club with a shotgun start of 8 a.m. for the morning wave and 1:30 p.m. for the afternoon wave.

It’s a return to how the tournament was held in the past after having tee times spaced due to COVID-19. Craig Stoker, Director of Marketing and Communications for the West Texas Food Bank, said that the camaraderie is what he’s looking forward to the most from this year’s tournament.

“Last year, we weren’t able to have any gathering, that included recognition of our volunteer of the year,” Stoker said. “We’re just excited to have everyone back together. That’s certainly what we all missed.”

The tournament is one of the biggest fundraisers for the West Texas Food Bank and provides a way for people to come together to honor Williams.

Williams was a long-time board member with the Food Bank among several other philanthropic ventures who died in March 2014.

The early July date is around the time of Williams’ birthday and his family is among those to give back and help out along with the Jones, Whytlaw and Bishop families who are hosting the event.

Stoker added that the tournament also serves as a family reunion of sorts for the Williams family.

“I knew Nick and grew up with his kids,” Stoker said. “It’s nice to see their family getting a chance to come together and honor his memory. It’s definitely fun for me.

“The Food Bank benefits from all this and it’s nice to have everyone back and enjoying everyone’s company.”

Libby Campbell, the executive director of the West Texas Food Bank, added in a news release: “The Nick Williams Golf Tournament honors the life of one of the most amazing men to have ever graced the Food Bank. He gave tirelessly of his time as a member of the West Texas Food Bank board, and helped guide me and the Food Bank to where we are today.”

The tournament’s registration did fill up despite the previous year’s challenges and Stoker said he was expecting more of the same in 2021.

“We’ve had a great turnout and it’s a whole lot of fun,” Stoker said. “It’s a different tournament and it’s also an opportunity for others who may not have the chance to play at the country club to play there as well.”

Odessa Country Club head golf professional Jake McCullough added that this is an event he looks forward to every year.

“It’s just a fantastic cause to help out the Food Bank,” McCullough said. “It’s nice to give back and help better the community that we live in and to be a part of Nick’s honor as well.”

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