At a young age, John Robert Rosario wanted to be a firefighter and a hero. Although he’s no longer here, his dreams of making a difference continue each year through a lot of golf swings.
The third annual John Robert Rosario Scholarship Golf Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23, at Timberlake Golf Club, 634 Challenge Club Drive, Clinton. Shotgun start is at 9 a.m.
John Robert’s mother, Sara Rosario, is looking forward to the upcoming event, which is keeping the memory of her son alive. He died in 2015 at the age of 6, after he drowned during a family reunion. Money will be raised in John Robert’s memory and a portion of event funds are awarded to students who have a parent or close relative working as a first responder. Her husband, Robert Rosario, is a firefighter with Vann Crossroads Fire/Rescue and has worked with other departments.
“The reason why we singled out first responders is because my little boy wanted to be just like his daddy and help people,” she said.
Recently, the family gave two scholarships to graduating seniors. A $500 scholarship went to Savannah Fann of Mintz Christian Academy, where John Robert was a student. The $1,000 scholarship for Sampson County students went to Emily Sutton of Hobbton High School. William “Brady” Roberts, a graduate of Union High School, was the first recipient in 2016.
“John loved school and I love the fact that I’m able to help kids continue their education,” Rosario said. “And I love the fact that his memory still lives on. That was my goal — to create something that will be helping others, even though he’s not here.”
Event organizers hope to have more participants this month. Last year, about five teams participated. During the prior event, 18 teams joined. The cost is $75 per player and $300 for a team of four. Lunch will be provided.
Sponsorship opportunities are also available at a variety of levels. The gold sponsorship is $1,000 and includes registration for two teams and names on all advertising; silver sponsorship is $500 for one team and name on all advertising; and the bronze level costs $200 and includes a name on board displayed during the event. For $100, the hole sponsorship allows a sponsor to have a name posted on a hole at the golf course.
A new addition of the tournament is a vendor show for women. A portion of the proceeds will go toward scholarships.
“While the men golf, the ladies can shop,” Rosario said. “We’re trying to get some ladies to come out.”
After the tournament, applications will be available in schools, no later than the winter break period.
The deadline to register for the tournament is Wednesday, Sept. 20. For more information about the tournament or donations, contact Rosario at 910-367-2753 or Jeff Warren at 910-337-3695. Check contributions should be made payable to: John Robert Rosario Scholarship and mailed to 217 Vance St., Clinton, N.C. 28328. Donations may also be made at the the PNC Bank in downtown Clinton, 300 Fayetteville St., Clinton.
Registration forms are available online through the organization’s Faceboook page at www.facebook.com/johnrobertrosarioscholarship
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.