WHEELING - Last year, Eric Carder's friends put on a golf scramble as a way to not only give back to the community, but also as a way to try and help with the grieving.
This year, the mood is much different as it is more about a celebration of Carder's life. The second annual Eric Carder Memorial Golf Tournament will be held Friday, Aug. 17 at Crispin Golf Course at Oglebay, benefiting the Eric M. Carder Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Last season, three Wheeling Park students - Alex Franke, Alex Triveri, and Mallory Ledergerber - were awarded money toward college.
Winners of the Eric M. Carder Memorial Scholarship last year were Wheeling Park students, from left, Alex Franke, Alex Triveri, and Mallory Ledergerber.
''We had such tremendous response from the community, friends and family, that we really just wanted to keep Eric's name in the forefront,'' said Matt Donovan, a good friend of Carder's and member of the golf outing/scholarship committee. ''He meant a lot to us and this is the least we can do.
''Eric was an adamant golfer. It was one of the things that he enjoyed doing.''
Last year's tournament had 144 golfers, the maximum it could have and Donovan is hoping for that number again.
The cost of the tournament is $75 per person, or $300 for a team. The entry fee includes a box lunch and dinner provided (a dinner-only ticket costs $20 for those not golfing) at Haller Shelter, an Eric Carder Memorial Golf shirt, and refreshments at the turn.
There will be a silent sports memorabilia auction featuring items from past and current sports stars.
Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place, longest drive and closest to the hole, door prizes and a 50/50 drawing.
''We raised money for three Wheeling Park students and that is what we are hoping to do again,'' Donovan said. ''It's not just athletics based but academics based as well because Eric was really into that.''
Carder was an athlete and student at Wheeling Park and Bethany College. His life was cut short last year in an automobile accident.
He left behind a wife and a young son, Leo, who Bethany College has generously sponsored a four-year scholarship to when he becomes of age.
''It is more a joyous event, as we move forward, and in years to come, we want this to be an event where this is about the happiness that he gave all of us and that is why we do it for him,'' Donovan said. ''Last year, the biggest thing against us was the limited time we had to put it on.
''I remember talking to the other committee members after it was over, talking about how Eric was looking down on us and would have been surprised we were able to put it together so fast. It really put a close to our mourning.''
Those wishing to participate or seek more information can contact Donovan (614) 804-0783, Kevin Heller (304) 280-1379, Steve Minter (919) 291-3174 or Steve Vogrin (304) 639-7627.