Dublin Villager

Volunteers of the Year 2014

Harrisons find Memorial more than 'bear-able'

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JENNIFER NOBLIT/THISWEEKNEWS
Bill and Ginny Harrison have been named the 2014 Memorial Tournament Volunteers of the Year.
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Bill and Ginny Harrison volunteer for the Memorial Tournament each year, but are always sure to have their shifts completed by the time play starts.

The Dublin couple that volunteers for the Memorial Tournament Bears for Children's campaign each year were named Volunteers of the Year for 2014.

A volunteer of the year has been chosen annually since 2003 to recognize the hours volunteers put into the tournament.

Nominations come from 12 different volunteer committees and honor the work that allows donations to go to Nationwide Children's Hospital.

"I don't know how the heck this happened," Mr. Harrison said of the honor.

Despite their shock at the honor, the Harrisons are committed to the tournament, volunteering 12 hours each year to sell bears at different Kroger stores throughout central Ohio.

Through the Memorial Tournament Bears for Children's campaign, stuffed bears are sold for $10; the bears can either go home with the buyer or be donated to Nationwide Children's Hospital, where they'll go to a child receiving care.

All proceeds from the sale of the bears go to Nationwide Children's Hospital.

"It's not hard work," Mrs. Harrison said.

In fact, the couple each has experience that relates to the work: Mr. Harrison is a retired salesman and says the bears practically sell themselves.

Mrs. Harrison was a nurse and saw her granddaughter receive special care after being born early.

"The way they take care of the infants in that area, I couldn't have done it," Mrs. Harrison said of Children's Hospital.

The volunteer work also helps the Harrisons connect with new people.

"You hear such wonderful stories from people," Mr. Harrison said.

The couple even met a young girl who got a bear while receiving care at Nationwide Children's Hospital for pneumonia.

The two have been selling bears since 2007 when Mr. Harrison retired.

Mrs. Harrison began volunteering for the Memorial Tournament before that time.

"I started back in the '90s driving courtesy cars," she said.

"I wasn't much of a golfer, but I saw a big ad for the tournament needing volunteers. That's how I got started."

Selling bears in the weeks leading up to the Memorial Tournament also frees the Harrisons to enjoy golf.

"It's fun coming over here and seeing all the players," Mrs. Harrison said, adding that they walk from their home near the 17th hole to see play each year.

"You always hear from the players how Jack (Nicklaus, the tournament founder) caters to everybody ... . It's just how meticulous he is."

But the Memorial Tournament isn't just about enjoying golf for the Harrisons, it's also a source of community pride.

"That's the kind of thing Jack Nicklaus brought to Dublin," Mr. Harrison said.

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