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story.lead_photo.caption Ed Clifford, Jones Center CEO (from left); John George, center board member; Michael Samson, Jason Nichol, The Golf Event co-chab. irmen; and Kelly Kemp, director of advancement welcome golfers for the 14th annual benefit tournament Oct. 5 at Springdale Country Club. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)

Jones Center supporters gathered for the 14th annual Golf Event on Oct. 5 at the Springdale Country Club. Proceeds from the benefit golf tournament will help support youth programs at the center in Springdale. Shawn Townzen of Walmart served as the benefit's chairman.

Bragging rights went to the Reynolds Consumer Products team for winning the tournament's morning flight and Procter & Gamble for the afternoon.

Ed Clifford, Jones Center CEO, welcomed golfers and volunteers to the socially distanced indoor and outdoor boxed luncheon between flights.

"We're excited to reach a milestone year -- our 25th," Clifford said. "We are limited by health department rules in what we can offer, but we re-opened with rearranged exercise facilities, equipment and classes." The group has even added fitness equipment and is offering 40 classes right now.

Current youth programs offered at the Center include pre-school ballet, children's gymnastics, Tae Kwon Do, judo, hockey, figure skating and a basketball skills clinic. Kelly Kemp, chief advancement officer, tells me that The Golf Event helps the Center provide activity scholarships so more children are able to participate.

A lunchtime Zoom featured a panel discussion with retail industry executives who fielded questions from golf teams.

Members of the panel moderated by Michael Samson of SC Johnson were:

• Corey Bender -- Walmart merchandising vice president, household chemicals;

• Melody Richard -- Walmart merchandising vice president, pets;

• Marlena Bond -- Walmart vice president, private brands consumables;

• Julie Barber -- Walmart senior vice president, health and wellness;

• Ebony Watt -- General Mills director of sales, natural and organic distributors; and

• Jason Nichol -- Tyson Foods senior vice president, Walmart team.

Pandemic conditions were naturally central to the submitted questions, such as:

"What are the top challenges faced by business and divisions in the pandemic?" Associate and customer safety were the answers.

"How has shopper and consumer behavior changed as a result of covid-19 and what behaviors do you think will continue?" Panelists reported spikes in sales of health and wellness products, cleaning and paper towels and items for pets.

"What are trending areas for the holidays this year?" Self-care, gift cards, game night and other family activities and home decor are trending.

When asked why the Jones Center is important to them, panelists pointed to the extent of amenities offered by the center, relative to the size of our community, and its connection to the community. As Watt said, "It's important because it's a place that welcomes everyone, a place of safety, comfort and a place where you can build community."

Next up, The Biggest Big Night Gala on Nov. 6 will help mark the Center's 25th anniversary.

For more event photos --

Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]

Chris Hudgens (from left), Heath Geiger and Jim Widmer of Tyson Foods help support the Jones Center at The Golf Event. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
Kendell Whidbee (from left), Lori Littrell, Alex Cooper, Kara Reinbolt, Kenneth Medlin, Danna Young and Brandon Anthes represent Spectrum Brands at the Jones Center golf benefit Oct. 5. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
Betsy Phillips (left) and Joanne Phillips volunteer at The Golf Event. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
Ali Taylor (from left), Chris Sooter and Zelda Parson volunteer at The Jones Center golf benefit. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
Tony Brown (from left), Jason Wright and Monique Swindle enjoy The Golf Event on Oct. 5. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
Casey and Matt Rivard join the Jones Center for the 14th annual Golf Event. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Carin Schoppmeyer)
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At a Glance

The Golf Event

Who: The Jones Center

What: The 14th annual benefit tournament helped support youth programs at the 25-year-old center.

When: Oct. 5

Where: Springdale Country Club

Next: The Biggest Big Night Gala: Celebrating 25 Years, Nov. 6

Information: (479) 756-8090 or

Print Headline: Golf event helps fund Jones Center

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