Contributing to the Future of Brunswick County!

Phillip A. Cook Memorial Golf Tournament impacting the lives of area children

BY: DEAN BLAINE

PHOTOS BY: KAY WOLFN

 

Phillip Cook wasn’t one to speak of his generosity. He never sought recognition. His sons Steve and Chad Cook didn’t know the scope of his charity until their father’s wake. They remembered their father’s acts of kindness growing up in the small mountain town of Man, West Virginia.

Phillip helped to build a junior high school in his hometown. He donated funds to help young people participate in sports. Without telling anyone, he pur- chased class rings and letter jackets for less fortunate students. He helped build the local church. “Early on, we learned that our dad took care of the people in his community,” Chad said.

But they didn’t know that he carried his philosophy of helping to Brunswick County. At his wake, the brothers were approached by a young lady who told them their father had paid for her much needed medication. He just reached into his pocket, she said. He was the first to help us with any project involving kids, Oak Island Police reported. He was a great lis- tener, others claimed. “It was amazing the people that we met that night,” Steve said. “I remember just kind of being in awe. It was something that he never shared with me, and we were very close.”

Their father moved to Oak Island in 2003, and opened the popular Island Way Restaurant. Before long, he was a fixture in the community, and the face of the restaurant. He endeavored to pro- vide the utmost in customer service. The slogan of the restaurant became, “The only thing we overlook is the ocean.” It wasn’t enough to meet expectations, Phillip said, you had to exceed expectations. He made many friends.

“He was the hardest working man that I ever knew,” Steve said. Their father was always the first one to arrive at the restaurant in the morning and the last one to leave at night. So on the morning of July 10, 2007, when Phillip didn’t show up at the restaurant, employees feared some- thing was wrong. When they arrived at his house on Oak Island, they discovered the body of Phillip slumped at the door to his home. The restaurant linens that he took home every evening to wash lay at his side. He’d been stalked and savagely beaten for the few hundred dollars in his wallet.

The community was in shock. In the aftermath, Steve and his brother Chad moved to Oak Island, to run their father’s restaurant. They weren’t about to let his business suffer. Just as their father did, they worked hard, made friends and became involved in the community.

In 2012, Steve and Chad decided to honor their father’s memory. The Phillip A. Cook Memorial Golf Tournament was born. In keeping with their father’s legacy of helping others, especially children, they would donate all proceeds from the event to Waves4Kids, a local charity dedicated to helping Brunswick County children in dis- ruptive situations.

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Waves4Kids provides services including educational grants, clothing, school supplies and computers in the home for more than 1,300 children throughout the county. The annual golf tournament is the principle sponsor of the organization.

“This golf tournament is having an impact on lives,” said Kay Wolf, president of Waves4Kids. Forty percent of tournament proceeds go to Waves4Kids programs and 60 percent benefits the charity’s Phillip A. Cook Memorial Edu- cation and Development Fund, dedicat- ed to providing area students with the money to attend college. The educational award is not a one-time grant, said Wolf. “The fund follows you the whole time you’re in college. It repeats year af- ter year.” The program has proved a resounding success, having sent more than 12 Brunswick County seniors to college. One student wants to get his doctorate in music education and then return to Brunswick County to establish an orchestra at West Brunswick High School, Wolf said. Another student realized her dream of becoming an environment scientist, now working for a firm in Atlanta. Other students strive to become dentists, forensic scientists and clothing designers. A recent graduate now serves the Peace Corps in Ethiopia.

“People seem to think that disadvantaged kids don’t have the same dreams as other kids,” Wolf said, “that’s just not true.” Phillip Cook understood this, she added. “He believed that you should give a person the opportunity to succeed, and that philosophy has carried over to his sons today.”

The Phillip A. Cook Memorial Golf Tournament is held each year on the Monday following The Masters. The tournament takes place this year on April 11, at the Oak Island Golf Club. The registration is $125 per player in groups of four. Fee includes breakfast, goodie bag, pizza and refreshments on the course, an afternoon dinner provided by Island Way Restaurant and a live auction. Cash prizes are awarded for first and second place winners, and players receive giveaways for closest to the pin or par threes, longest drive on hole 18, and a hole-in-one on hole 12.

The tournament has contributed nearly $100K to Waves4Kids since its inception in 2012. “It’s an honor to contribute to the future of Brunswick County,” Steve said. “This entire process instills the types of values that our dad held in high regard.”

 

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