Good deeds can be rewarded, even if they derive from seemingly hopeless situations.
The Travis Burkhart Scramble is hitting its fifth anniversary this summer at Country Oaks.
The scramble was originated in 2008 to assist the Plainville citizen’s family after he was severely injured in a February traffic accident.
The first event was held to raise funds to help pay for therapy during his recovery and for family expenses while making daily trips back and forth from hospitals.
And while the scramble certainly did its original job, it has grown in the past five years to assist other families in similar situations.
Lyn May became the organizer of the first event, and she now serves as the Travis Burkhart Foundation president. Travis is the vice-president and the non-profit organization has six board members.
From an original effort to help friends in need, a foundation has been formed to help other families. Thirty-two families in Indiana were assisted last year. The foundation is looking to continue its work for years to come.
“I’m very excited to know this is our fifth anniversary,” May said. “I got started because if it were me in that position the family was in, I would hope there would be someone there to help me.”
Burkhart has experienced extensive therapy in the years since the accident. The first two scrambles were held with the Burkharts in mind.
“The community came out and supported them (the Burkhart family),” May said. “We started giving something back to the community for other families the second year, and the third year it really started being about that.”
The foundation receives help finding families through county government agencies, and families can request assistance through the foundation’s website, travisburkhartfoundation.com.
“The families have paper work they must fill out so we can keep our records properly,” May said. “We go through county agencies and families themselves can request help through the website.”
Twenty seven teams participated in the first benefit. The scramble now attracts up to 64 teams split into morning and afternoon sessions with 32 teams in each.
“The golfers have been just great every year since we started,” May said. “We want them to have fun, and we set up surprises each year at different locations. I think they really enjoy the things we do for them because they never know what to expect. We try to have a fun day for them, and they have returned a lot of kindness. The golfers are really the people who make the event what it is.”
That kindness was felt two years ago when Burkhart appeared at the scramble walking with a walker for the first time.
He was unable to attend the first event. The second year, his father assisted him with a walker to meet the golfers.
The third year, Travis walked alone to meet the golfers before the morning group started.
“We have a ceremony each year before the first group goes out at 8 a.m.,” May said. “We tried to keep it a surprise that Travis was going to do what he did. When he appeared, I don’t think there was a dry eye there. The golfers all care so much, and it showed that day how they felt.”
Members of the Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders started attending the event in the second year. While the cheerleaders enjoy supporting the cause, Burkhart always enjoys their appearance.
“They are always a fan favorite,” May said. “They should be here around noon. To be honest, that may be one of his (Travis) favorite parts of the whole thing. They love him.”
Former Indiana high school coaches have attended for several years. Dave Omer, Jack Butcher Charles Denbo and Sam Alford are usually there.
Alford will miss this year while celebrating a family anniversary.
Athletes and performers have also appeared. Indiana University associate basketball coach Tim Buckley and former Indiana University basketball player Todd Lindeman are some of the celebrities expected to attend.
Players come from thoughout Indiana as well as other states to participate.
“It’s crazy how it is growing,” May said. “Everyone is thrilled. We have over 300 sponsors for the event. People withhold money from their paychecks to help sponsor. We’re hoping to continue to help people for many years to come.”
A silent auction during the day of the scramble is also featured. One of the items available is an autographed photo of Peyton Manning in an Indianapolis uniform. Items from Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Tony Dungy and an autographed photo and record from Hank WIlliams Jr. are included.
The items are available in the morning. They are usually presented around 6 p.m.
A Friday night Winner’s Circle Challenge is also in the plans.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary, the top three teams from each of the first four years are being invited to play a nine-hole scramble starting at 6:30 p.m.
Teams must register by July 27 by calling May (598-0563), Country Oaks (486-3300) or Mike Burkhart (257-4493).
May said over two dozen volunteers participate during the event. Without their help, the scramble could not happen.
“Everybody pulls together,” May said. “It’s amazing. Mark 12:31 says that we are to love your neighbor as yourself. We are supposed to help each other. It has grown. Travis has reached so many people through his situation. He is truly a miracle, and he has helped so many others.”
Some team spots are available for the afternoon. Information can be obtained by calling May.
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