Finnegan foundation tees it up for acts of random kindness

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Cortland Finnegan signs a football for young fan Carson Walker.

Tennessee Titan's All-Pro cornerback Cortland Finnegan had a dream of making a difference in the world, helping children with disabilities and diseases and that dream came to reality Monday at Saddle Creek Golf Club in Lewisburg as Finnegan hosted the first annual Cortland Finnegan ARK 31 Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament.

A happy Finnegan said after the outing, "Man, it went wonderful, we had a lot of people in Lewisburg come out, a lot of teammates come out and support ARK 31 and that is what it was all about and we will have a chance to give back to the kids shortly and we want to thank Lewisburg for everyone who attended today."

Asked about the ARK 31 name, Finnegan said, "Acts of random kindness, how you change the world with one act of random kindness at a time. Just these volunteers that come out and their kindness and everybody who comes and gives back to this foundation are monumental. That is why I choose random kindness. It was something I saw in a movie (Evan Almighty), Morgan Freeman wrote it in the dirt (ARK) and I totally believe that is how you change the world."

The tournament was sponsored by Richard Lyons, owner of Roberts/Lyons Chevrolet in Lewisburg.

Eddie Roberts, who purchased Saddle Creek Golf Course earlier this month, opened the course to the ARK 31 Foundation and the Creekside Grill staff, led by owner Kim Wing provided all the participants with lunch, beverages, and a steak dinner cooked Alabama style by Lewisburg's Will Thomason.

Finnegan said, "I want to thank Robert and Lyons, just so many people who came out today. All the volunteers who came out, they are the backbone of this foundation. They don't go unnoticed, they came out today and they were really great. We are a new foundation and we are one built on giving back every dollar we raise. The volunteers were great, Lewisburg is great, and it is like I said. We can't wait to come back next year."

Roberts said after the event, "Any time you have an event like this that brings exposure to Saddle Creek and our Community is a win-win. It is great to have people come to Lewisburg to see our town. Everything was underwritten and paid for. Every dollar that came into this golf outing goes straight to ARK 31, every dollar to Cortland for kids with Leukemia and that is great."

Twenty-six teams, costing $1000 per team, took to the fairways and greens of Saddle Creek for a round of scramble golf with 100% of the proceeds from the tournament donated to the ARK 31 Foundation.

The money will be forwarded by Finnegan on behalf of his ARK 31 Foundation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America.

Security was provided by the Lewisburg Police Department.

Along with Finnegan, Titan players Michael Roos, Michael Griffin, Vince Fuller, Mike Otto, Tuff Harris, Jason Jones, Ken Amato, Eugene Amano, and Tony Brown all came out to support Finnegan's effort.

Finnegan thanked all his teammates, saying, "We had about ten teammates and they know what I am all about, just giving back. They are all big kids; I am a big kid, so giving back to the kids all makes sense."

Singer songwriters Gary Chapman and Paul Overstreet, along with other celebrities and mid-state business representatives joined up with the Titan players for a great day on the links.

Finnegan is a fourth year player from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and hails from Milton, a small town in the Florida panhandle.

Finnegan gave his reasoning on why he chose Lewisburg to host his first ever golf outing. "I am from the country in Milton, Florida and if you blink you miss it. We are all country there so Lewisburg fits well with me and I am going to come back to the country next year."

The overall winners of the event were Franklin residents Don Vick, Tim Mulloly, Jamie Sevier, and Jay Luna, who shot 22-under par as a team.

Finnegan's team did not fare as well as the Titan's cornerback mysteriously finished the round with just three clubs left from a full bag.

Asked about a morning search party lined up to find some of his clubs in the various lakes around Saddle Creek, Finnegan laughed, saying, "I'm gonna stick to my day job man. Golf is so challenging that I want to be good at it and it gets frustrating. So I am going to continue to work hard at it and next year, hopefully I won't lose any clubs."