DOBSON — A golf tournament held last week in Dobson helped carry on the legacy of Dave Wilmoth, a 23-year-old police officer whose life was tragically cut short in January.
The inaugural 508 Foundation Golf Tournament was held Thursday, Oct. 20 at Cedarbrook Country Club.
About 100 participants enjoyed beautiful warm weather and the chance to raise money for a non-profit organization established in honor of Wilmoth.
“It was really a great tournament that I hope can become an annual tradition,” said Josh Smith, Dobson town manager. “We were ecstatic about the turnout. The golfers really seemed to have a good time, and everyone there knew they were there for a good cause.”
The tournament featured different types of competition such as captain’s choice, priced at $300 for a four-person team, and a pursuit package at $100 per team, with other contests thrown in the mix.
All proceeds from the tournament and raffle went to the 508 Foundation, which Wilmoth’s mother, Anne Wilmoth, said was named after her son’s Dobson Police Department call number.
“When he was killed, some friends of ours got together in his memory and wanted to to make something good out of something bad,” she said about the organization’s creation.
“We have two goals,” she said, one of which is to help student athletes in Surry County and surrounding areas to purchase equipment needed for participation.
“We don’t want anybody not to be able to play a sport because they can’t afford it,” Anne Wilmoth said.
The second involves the families of law enforcement officers in distress, such as that caused by injury or death.
“We want to be able to help them as well with whatever they need,” she said.
The mission of the foundation continues work that Dave Wilmoth began during his lifetime.
A Surry Central all-conference athlete and assistant coach, he also served with the Surry County Sheriff’s Office as well as the city police.
“Those were near and dear to his heart, so those were the two things we chose,” Anne Wilmoth said.
The foundation held its first fundraising event, Dave’s Family Fun Day, at Shelton Vineyard’s in July.
Wilmoth described the subsequent golf tournament as “the icing on the cake,” with more than $30,000 generated by both events.
“We were pretty happy,” said Wilmoth. “We’ve worked really hard and so many generous people are willing to give.”
The success of the fundraisers have meant that students have already been helped with equipment purchases and with summer camp tuition.
“We’re so happy to be able to meet that need,” Wilmoth said. “We’re going to do a lot more, as basketball season and winter sports roll around, and if people realize that’s what we’re here for. Usually teachers and coaches pay out of pocket for these things. We wanted to take that burden off the coaches.”
In addition to functioning as a fundraiser, the golf tournament also served as a time of remembering a beloved member of the community.
“All the people coming in were sharing stories about Dave,” said Sheriff Graham Atkinson, who is Wilmoth’s uncle. “He really was a funny guy. People talked about things he had done for them that we had never heard.”
Smith encouraged folks to become involved with the foundation throughout the year, through contributions or volunteer work.
“Although it’s already done some good,” he said, “we hope to make a greater impact in the future.”
Atkinson also remarked on the future of the organization.
“Speaking for the family, I know how much it means, the support they’ve been given since Dave death back in January. It has been completely unwavering since the moment people found out about it. It’s our hope through the 508 Foundation that we can continue that energy and that momentum to make something good out of his death. And the only way we can do this is together as a community. It’s just wonderful to live in a place where folks rally around in times of trouble.”
Anne Wilmoth noted that the foundation provides a means to live by her son’s example.
“We just wanted to see people benefit from anything we can do in his name,” she said. “He was gone too young. He was gone at 23. So the fact that he had been involved in so many different things by the time he was 23, both playing sports and coaching, and his having been involved in two different areas of law enforcement, he made an impact. And he cared about the people he wanted to serve.”
For more information, visit 508Foundation.org, find the organization on Facebook or email 508Foundation@gmail.com.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.