Last year it was a hole-in-one contest, staged after dark, under banks of lights set up on the 18th green. This year, the lights will surround Brownwood Country Club’s practice putting green because that will be the site of a $50,000 putting contest. The new event is part of the area’s leading charitable golf tournament, the TexasBank Golf Classic.

“We see this as an opportunity for us to add a special event to the bank’s tournament to support a specific charity, the Pregnancy Care Center,” Paul Waldrop said. Waldrop’s company, Waldrop Construction, is the putting contest’s sponsor. Waldrop also serves on the board of directors for TexasBank. “Most of our efforts in fund-raising for the contest are through Waldrop Construction and our vendors and clients so that it doesn’t interfere with the bank’s efforts.”

“The putting contest is to raise dedicated funds for the Pregnancy Care Center. Paul and Linda (Waldrop) really head that specific effort up,” C. Norman Tinkler, Vice Chairman and CEO of TexasBank said.

The putting contest will feature 10 Golf Classic entrants who will qualify on Friday, June 6. That group will be cut down to two finalists who will each have a shot at $50,000. To win, all either — or both — have to do is sink their putt. Not only will the successful putter win, but half the prize will be donated to the TexasBank Golf Classic Charity Fund.

The putting contest isn’t the only charitable contribution that will take place on the eve of the golf tournament, though. Three Brownwood area, and one Stephenville area, charities will all receive donations at the tournament sponsors dinner.

Those donations are part of a campaign originally called “Drive to $100,000” which began four years ago, and was modeled after the PGA Tour’s Drive to $1 billion. According to Tinkler, he had a vision of raising and donating $100,000 over four years to different local charities whose missions are to work with young people.

“It’s really important for us to keep our sponsors focused on our challenge to support local kids and local agencies,” he said.

During last year’s event, Tinkler announced that the drive had been pretty successful in its first two years, when a total of $65,000 had been raised and donated. A few moments later he said that the drive had exceeded its original goal and announced gifts of $60,000 to the agencies. The drive had not only exceeded its goal by $25,000, but had done so a year early.

Early success didn’t mean the end of the effort, though, and this year Tinkler promises more good news for the local charities that have been selected. The drive will continue and has been branded “Community Partners Sharing the Gift, Making a Difference in 2008”.

The charities selected as recipients this year are the Pearl Griffin Memorial Latch Key Program, Boys and Girls Club, CASA in the Heart of Texas, all in Brownwood, and Tarleton Equine Assisted Therapy (TREAT) in Stephenville.

The Pearl Griffin Memorial Latch Key Program is a non-denominational after-school program for Brownwood children from low-income families. Its goal is to provide working parents with the opportunity for their children to receive quality care. There is no charge for the program, which includes children aged 4 through sixth grade. The program is located at First Christian Church, 2411 Coggin Ave.

The Boys and Girls Club’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. Children in the program range from six to 18 years of age. The Boys and Girls Club is located at 1600 Ave. K, which is the old South Elementary School campus.

CASA in the Heart of Texas trains and supports quality volunteers to provide best-interest advocacy for abused and neglected children in Brown, Comanche and Mills counties. Its goal is for each child to be placed in a safe, nurturing, permanent home as quickly as possible. It is also CASA’s goal to reduce the trauma experienced by the children by providing a consistent, stable person who will help them through the difficult maze of the foster care system. CASA is located at 901 Ave. B.

TREAT trains college students to utilize the horse for therapeutic activities for children and adults with a variety of special needs. Those interested in the program may call (254) 968-9656 for more information.

“It’s very gratifying as a board member to be part of a bank that wants to give back to the community, and has ownership that supports that effort,” Waldrop said. “The directors, owners and officers have instilled a philosophy that this bank is going to give back to the communities we serve, and it does so in those communities.”

Tinkler said it’s important to him that he has the bank board’s support for the Drive, and that each board member participates professionally and personally.

“It’s great to have directors that want to partner with us. They’re so supportive of our efforts. Every one of our board members participates in this. They share the same philosophy, personally and professionally,” he said.