By the time the Defend One Disc Golf Tournament started Friday morning, the overcast sky had cleared.
The chance of rain was gone, but even without many clouds to give participants a little relief from the sun, the temperature stayed reasonably comfortable for the morning groups.
The second annual tournament took place at Rolling Hills Disc Golf Course in the northwest section of Hays off 41st Street. Sponsored and coordinated by Dr. Brandon Johnson and his staff at Cornerstone Orthodontics, the tournament is a fundraiser for a pair of orphanages in Haiti, supported through Open Hands 4 the Fatherless. It is an organization that was started in Kansas and now is help led by Hays residents Mark and Avry St. Peter.
“We were fortunate today,” Jessica Johnson said of the weather. “The sun is shining and not too much wind. It’s beautiful.”
Taking part in a mission trip during last year’s Christmas break with the St. Peters to Haiti, Brandon and Jessica Johnson had the opportunity to work within the orphanages and school OH4F helped create two years ago, along with their three children. The OH4F group partners with Coreluv — a non-profit organization from Houston — to run the orphanages and school. There are more than 100 children in the orphanages.
“(The disc golf tournament) was something Brandon and Jessica wanted to do,” Mark St. Peter said. “They wanted to help support my wife and I and Coreluv. It’s just one of the things we can do to help the kids go back to school and things like that. All the proceeds will go to that.”
The tournament was broken up into two sections, with the high school, college student and adult group going in the morning. Once they were finished, the grade school, middle school and family groups started. The tournament was 18-holes, with the winner of each group receiving a cash prize. There also were prizes for the closest-to-the-pin contest and straightest line.
The St. Peters, who have four children, have been a part of the OH4F program in Haiti for three years.
“We take a team (to Haiti) a couple times a year,” Mark St. Peter said. “We do different projects with the kids, bible studies and vacation bible school games and activities. We usually go and spend a week.”
Jessica Johnson, who is the financial and marketing coordinator at Cornerstone, said the purpose of what they want to accomplish with the fundraiser is to raise awareness of the orphans in Haiti, and as a way to support anyone in the community who might be in need of help.
“We really want this to maybe be a springboard for other things we’re going to do,” Johnson said. “Part of why we’re here is to help people, and that’s really our focus.”