In 2016, there were several doubters who said it would take a year or two to raise money using a golf tournament format. Our first year we were able to raise $45,000 for three charities—Bob’s Auto Cafe, Raphael House of Portland and Children’s Cancer Association. We didn’t do it just to feel good, though—we truly wanted to touch lives.

Our first-year monies provided half a yearly income for one female student training to become a car mechanic. Raphael House doubled our gift by using it as a matching gift at their yearly auction, turning $12,000 into $24,000 to pay for housing for women and children fleeing domestic abuse.

Yet, little did our Guild employees know how they would be impacted by using their volunteer hours to help put on the first Guild Giving Golf Tournament. One such employee was seated at a table with the president of one our charities, Daniel Lacy from Bob’s Auto Cafe. Daniel had the opportunity to speak to our Clackamas Branch employee found out that this Guild employee has a disabled child that is a huge NASCAR fan.

Because of Daniel’s connections with ENEOS Oil (a NASCAR team sponsor), he pursued the unthinkable—getting this child and his family to a NASCAR race. Through our first charity event, Guild’s Clackamas employee and her family went to Phoenix, went behind the scenes to meet drivers and got immersed in the NASCAR scene. It was a dream come true for this young teenager.

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Having a child with special needs changes your life. You have a keen awareness of the importance of consistent and, at times, grueling routines, while simultaneously recognizing when you need to change and adapt to what works and what doesn’t. The lives of a special needs family are consumed with time management and preparation for each simple task in the day, many of which you would never give any thought to otherwise. But you do whatever it takes to make the best quality of life for that child.

With our son being 13 now, we can look back on how much time we have given of ourselves committing to this lifestyle. It has required a lot of patience and hard work from everyone in our family, especially for him. He works so hard each and every day, often times struggling with daunting tasks that he successfully mastered the week before. He constantly amazes us, though, by his unyielding laughter, smiles and affection.

When the opportunity came about to take our family to the NASCAR races in Phoenix (our son’s greatest passion) we were brought to tears. This kiddo has been talking about racing and NASCAR his whole life! The mere thought of his heart pounding with the sound of the engines and experiencing one of his favorite tracks literally gave us goose bumps. It was a dream come true!

We had an unforgettable experience and without the generous gift from Bob’s Auto Café, ENEOS and Spire, we may not have been able to make this happen for him. Even more important, the time in Phoenix was a much-needed break from our intense routine and a time for us to spend quality time together as a family. We were able to let all the work slide away to the background for a few days and just immerse ourselves completely into the one thing that brings him the purest of joy. To be in that moment with him, to hear it, smell it, and feel it as a family—there are no words! This generosity gave us a memory that will be etched in our hearts forever.

Never could I have imagined that by volunteering to help at a Guild Giving Golf Tournament, my life and that of my family, would be personally impacted.

“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose” – Kevin Arnold

Renee Schmidt | Loan Officer Assistant | NMLS-1194529