A benefit golf outing Saturday at Thomson Country Club raised more than $12,000 for 11-year-old leukemia patient Tanner Reese.
The fundraiser for the 11-year-old included an 18-hole golf tournament and a barbecue chicken dinner.
"Tanner's a great kid," said Damon Davis, who was on hand grilling chicken for the event. "His willingness and ability to do things is just vivacious. He's a good all-around kid."
Many of the people attending the event know Tanner and his family personally.
"My wife helps home-school Tanner, and our boys are good buddies with him," said Michael Greene, who participated in the day's golf tournament. "Our families have become good friends over the last few years, and the whole Reese family is just super. They'll do anything for you, so it means a lot to us to be able to do this for them. And Tanner's handling this just like a trooper. He's trusting in God, and his faith is just getting stronger, together with his family's."
The fund raiser was organized by McDuffie County Sheriff's Investigator Al Reeves and Ralph Starling and Stewart Young of Queensborough National Bank and Trust Co..
"The turnout has been outstanding," Reeves said. "It's just an awesome group of people who came out for this. We exceeded our goal for hole sponsors and ended up with 40 hole sponsors at $100 each, so that was $4,000 for the family right there. We had 16 teams sign up for the golf tourney, and right now we're getting more chicken because we'll end up selling close to 400 plates."
Tanner himself was unable to attend the event. He was diagnosed with a brain infection last week and was in hospital receiving treatment.
"They found an infection in his brain," said Tanner's mom, Denise Reese, who was helping serve food during the event. "Right now he's on some super heavy-duty antibiotics to fight that."
Reese said she and her family were grateful for the help of the community.
"I just want to thank everyone who's sold tickets, cooked food, played in the golf tournament, and especially for all the prayers," she said. "Thomson has just been awesome."
Starling gave Reeves all the credit for the fundraiser's success.
"It was all Al's idea," Starling said. "He brought an idea to us and we all bought into it."
The $5,000 fundraising goal was easily exceeded. "You see what God has done; he's increased it to $12,000," Starling said. "It was the best one I've ever been involved in."
"The Lord put it on my heart to help the family," Reeves said. He credited Starling and others with welcoming his suggestion and developing it into a successful fundraiser.
McDuffie Mirror Executive Editor Garth Snow contributed to this report.