It all started with one person, Wade Hepner said.

The enthusiasm of a fellow church member, Hepner, volunteer chairperson of the Habitat Golf Classic, said, helped inspire his volunteer efforts.

“It all started when my church, Westminister Presbyterian, was building a house on South Walnut for Habitat for Humanity [of Franklin County],” he said. “Cliff Burke, a member of my church, was really big into Habitat at that time. He just amazed me with all of his energy to do everything for Habitat. He’s the reason I stuck with it and got involved on the board after we finished the house for the church. His enthusiasm gave me enthusiasm for that organization.”

Hepner, a former member of the board of directors for Habitat, said it wasn’t until the former chairperson, Dale Fox, passed the responsibility to Hepner that he became involved with the Habitat Golf Classic.

“We’re members of the same church, so we’ve known each other for awhile,” Hepner said. “There was no way he was going to let me say no.”

Hepner has been volunteering as chairperson of the Habitat Golf Classic for the past three years, working alongside a committee of nine others, he said. Fundraising is a team effort, he emphasized, with every member using his or her strengths to help raise money for Habitat for Humanity.

“Emilie Nichols and Veronda Mourning are in charge of the women’s and men’s trunks,” he said. “Those were some new things we tried last year and there was trial and error, but those ladies just took the bull by the horns and did it.”

The men’s and women’s trunks are stocked with prizes from places around town, Hepner said. Donations are taken at the golf tournament, and a winner is drawn the day of the tournament.

“It’s a donation drawing,” he said. “The women’s trunk has items from The Pink Suitcase, massage places and it equals up to quite a bit of things. We take a $5 donation, and we draw one winner. We made about $2,500 on just the trunks last year.”

One thing Hepner said he looks forward to at every tournament is getting to thank the volunteers and sponsors for all their hard work, as well as introducing the family for whom all their efforts were directed.

“Typically the family is [at the golf tournament] that’s getting the house,” he said. “We introduce the family and everybody that’s given money or playing that day gets to know why they’re playing and how much it means to the people getting the house.”

 Being able to see their work pay off at the Golf Classic is rewarding, Hepner said, but the most special thing is being able to hand the keys to the new owners of a home in Franklin County.

“We just finished a house at 740 S. Elm and the dedication for that house is May 19,” Hepner said. “That’s a pretty special day, because all the work we did on the golf committee and everything the fundraising committee does, it comes to that day when we hand over the keys to that family and tell them this is their home. That’s pretty neat.”