PGA execs say Habitat house shows golfers heart
Long after the crowds drawn by this week’s PGA tournament have left Kiawah Island, a little house on Johns Island will remain as a testimony to a less visible aspect of the organization.
On the eve of the tournament, two of the organization’s top executives took time Sunday to dedicate a Habitat for Humanity House on Johns Island.
The PGA of America and the Kiawah Island Golf Resort paid for the materials for the house off Brownswood Road, and about 300 PGA volunteers joined another 100 Habitat volunteers to build it in record time. Most of the house went up in two weeks, despite the heat wave.
“It was one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been involved with, to see what we were able to build together,” Kiawah Island Golf Resort President Roger Warren said during the dedication ceremony. “It is a tangible way to give back to the community. This home will always stand (for) and represent the commitment of the PGA of America and the resort and the people of this community to give something back to the community.”
The PGA generates $3 billion a year for charity, and it’s typical for the organization to find a charity in the host community to support, PGA President Allen Wronowski said.
“It (this house) really showcases the charitable heart of the PGA of America,” Wronowski said.
PGA of America Chief Executive Officer Joe Steranka stood near the podium smiling.
“The people in the game of golf like to give back,” he said after the ceremony.
The house is going to Lauren Francis, a single mother of two who works at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island. She said she started there as a housekeeper and worked her way up to director of leisure services.
“I don’t believe there are enough words to express how honored and thankful I am,” she said, her voice choking up. “I feel so in awe. This is so much more than I imagined.”
Her 2-year-old son, Allen, joined her at the podium and picked up a golf ball.
“I know absolutely nothing about golf, but hopefully at the end of this, I’ll actually understand the lingo,” Francis said.
She also has a 10-year-old daughter, Ayanna.
The house includes 1,150 square feet, three bedrooms and a washer and dryer. Construction manager Steve Yeomans said it’s as solid as anything he used to build on Kiawah Island.
All Habitat homeowners must pass a screening process and work on their house at least 500 hours, Sea Island Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Greg Thomas said after the ceremony.
He said he got a call from the resort a couple months ago saying PGA officials were looking for a charity to support. Habitat fit the bill because PGA volunteers could participate, he said.
“It was a perfect match between two volunteer-driven organizations,” Foster said.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or twitter.com/dmunday.