Golf is their game (more or less) and fund-raising is their reason for being here, but for the two dozen celebrities who flew into St. Thomas on Thursday, today is fun-in-the-sun time.
So, be on the lookout for any of the following folks you know of:
— Football players Martin Bayless, Gary Clark, Eric Dickerson, Deacon Jones, Duval Love, Art Monk, Mark Mosely and Charlie Taylor.
— Basketball players Greg Ballard, Bobby Dandridge, Kevin Greavey, Ron Harper, Tom McMillan and Spud Webb.
— Boxers Thomas Hearns and Frankie Lyles.
— Volleyball players Patricia Killiany and Kristen Schritter.
— Actresses Mari Marrow and Nicole Ari Parker.
— Actor/comic Daymon Wayans.
— Television show host Allan Thicke and Andre Farr.
What has brought them here is the second annual Beacon Schools of the Virgin Islands Celebrity Golf Tournament. Some are semi-accomplished golfers; others are unabashedly amateur, but all are known entities, and that's what counts.
Each will make the rounds of Mahogany Run on Sunday morning in the company of three local golfers on corporate teams that have each coughed up $2,000 for the fun and fund-raising of it all.
The Beacon Schools program was organized in the territory two years ago under the guidance of Barry Florence, then the top official of AT&T of the Virgin Islands. The not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation began operations at one school each on St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John in December 1997.
Patterned on a New York program, it is aimed at making schools into neighborhood community resources that offer classes and other activities for young people and adults well into the evening hours, thereby fostering productive educational, social and cultural interaction and contributions.
Through a community outreach approach, parents, civic groups, churches, businesses, government agencies and other entities become Beacon activity sponsors. They and those who participate in the offerings are called "members."
Valerie George, who formerly ran the Education Department's adopt-a-school program, is not only the Beacon Schools executive director but also the golf tournament coordinator.
A media "opportunity" to meet and mingle with the tournament principals was held at the Renaissance Grand Beach Resort at 10 p.m. the late hour having been chosen because so many of the celebrities were scheduled to arrive aboard evening flights. Everyone will assemble at 6 p.m. this evening for a sponsors' party in the ballroom at the resort. After that, it'll be r&r until tee-off time Sunday morning.