Golf tournament raises money for cancer resource programs

Fifteen teams participated in the 10th Annual Harold Lester Memorial Golf Tournament on June 18, raising more than $12,000 to assist local cancer patients and their families.

The event, held at Lonesome Pine Country Club in Big Stone Gap, benefits the Harold Lester Memorial Fund of the Mountain Laurel Cancer Support and Resource Center. MLCC is operated by Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc., the local Area Agency on Aging serving Lee, Scott, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.

The COVID-19 pandemic canceled last year’s tournament, so organizers were thrilled to gather again at the course for the day.

The Harold Lester Memorial Fund was established in 2011 by MEOC and Mr. Lester’s family to honor his legacy of giving after he lost his battle with cancer. Those who knew Mr. Lester remember a man with a strong Christian faith and a belief that one needs to take care of family, neighbors, friends and those in need. Mr. Lester was devoted to assisting thousands of people during his lifetime. He spent much of his life working with children and their families through the Wise County School System, where he was a teacher, coach and administrator for more than three decades. He was director of secondary education at the time of his retirement.

The Harold Lester Memorial Fund helps meet many unexpected needs of cancer patients of all ages not addressed by other cancer resources, including assistance with cancer-related travel and liquid nutrition.

“We are so grateful for the continued support of the Lester family and to all who participated in the tournament and helped in any way,” said MEOC Executive Director Michael Wampler.

MLCC Coordinator Dianne W. Morris also expressed appreciation to all who helped the cause. “I can’t express how thankful we are to those who came out to support the Mountain Laurel Cancer Center and to honor Mr. Lester’s memory. All donations are used to serve cancer patients who are in need at a critical time,” said Morris.


Tournament Champions: Jeff Woodard, Doug McDonald, Doug Blakely and Joe Hawkins.

Bear Flight, First Place: Hensley Hagan, Taylor Livesay, Ryan Witt and David Hall.

Spartan Flight, First Place: Butch Goodnough, Greg Perry, Carroll Dale and Phil Lee.

Warrior Flight, First Place: Vadis Shupe, Ernie Ward, Clark Helton and Rick Taylor.

For the first time in the tournament’s history, a high school team participated. Thanks to the Union High School Golf Team, sponsored by MEOC Executive Director Emeritus Marilyn Pace Maxwell and husband Bill, for supporting the cause.

Donations of any amount to the Harold Lester Memorial Fund are always appreciated. Make an online contribution at or mail your donation to P.O. Box 888, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219 Contact Morris at (276) 523-4202 to learn more about MLCC.