Tournament honors memory of Thomasville icon
The Chair City is fortunate to have individuals who are making lasting impacts to the community even after their time on earth is done.
One such individual will be honored at 8 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Winding Creek golf course. The fourth annual Pat Slaten Memorial Golf Tournament will once again raise money for Relay for Life of Davidson County and the Ella Bunting Open Arms cancer support group at Grace Lutheran Church.
"Pat Slaten was a decorated war hero. Several of his medals were awarded by his friend, Congressman Howard Coble," said Mark Scott, director of Thomasville Tourism and member of the tournament planning committee. "This year, Mayor [Joe] Bennett will be there at the tournament to open it up. He was also a good friend of Pat's, as were so many throughout the community."
Organized in 2010, the tournament was brought about as an effort to honor the memory of Slaten, an avid golfer who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 83. He joined the Open Arms group shortly before he passed and made several friends with whom he shared his vision for a local golf tournament to raise money for cancer research.
As members of the group saw he would be unable to complete preparations for his tournament, they agreed to chip in to make his dream a reality.
"Pat was a member of our group. He was a dear man who won a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and was an excellent marksman with a World War II Victory Medal," Miller said. "He came to our meeting one December for a Christmas party and received some earrings. When offered to exchange them for a male-oriented item, he said, 'Oh, no, these are beautiful.' So he took them home to his wife. He said she had spent so many years taking care of him, it was about time to take care of her. That's just the kind of man he was."
Others in the community say the same of Slaten, many of whom share his love of golf and wanted to do everything they could to help in preparation for the tournament. They continue to support the project each year in hopes their efforts will contribute not only to the cause to prevent future deaths, but also benefit a course Slaten fought to improve.
"As a Thomasville city councilman for a number of years, he helped rebuild Winding Creek," said Leslie Miller, co-founder of the support group. "Everybody knew Pat and loved him. He was such a positive person, and would just stop and talk to people on the street. He was a real conversationalist."
Proceeds will be divided evenly between Relay for Life and the Open Arms cancer support group. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers at the tournament. First place will receive $400, while second and third will net $300 and $200, respectively. Lunch is provided and door prizes will be awarded, and a bake sale is scheduled.
To register, call Jason Gentel at the Winding Creek pro shop at 475-5580.
Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or firstname.lastname@example.org.