For more than 10 years, the Golf and Gala Weekend has been a big supporter for the Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center.



"Each year it gets bigger," explained ECCAC Founder and Executive Director Julie Hurst. "Now, about 16 years later, the Golf and Gala has grown into our signature event."



In 2012, the event was renamed the Kieran May Memorial Golf and Gala Weekend. May was the golf tournament chair for three years and served on the board for six years. The event not only supports the non-profit, but commemorates the hard work and support of May.



“The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center was absolutely Kieran’s charity of choice,” said his widow, Caroline May. “He would be happy that the golf tournament is in his honor, but truly, Kieran was in it solely to heal the children. I know Kieran would be quite pleased that our son, Patrick, is now co-chairing the golf tournament, and two of our three grandchildren will be playing in it this year.”



"He gave his heart and soul to the event," added Hurst.



Proceeds from the event go toward the mental health and victim advocacy programs at both ECCAC locations in Niceville and DeFuniak Springs. The center provides services to help identify, treat and support children in abusive situations while also providing education to prevent child abuse.



The weekend begins with the gala at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 1 at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. The event will feature dinner, live entertainment and silent auctions. Vacation to the British Virgin Islands, Telluride, Colo. as well as tickets to a PGA Tour Event are up for grabs.



The fun continues, Sunday, March 2 at the Kelly Plantation Golf course. Tee time is noon.



Thanks to wide support from the community, the Golf and Gala weekend raised $170,000 last year. Hurst credits the success of the event to sponsors. This year, sponsors include Toshiba, Isagenix, Coastal Accounting, Coastal Business Products and CCB Community Bank to name a few. 



Most importantly, the Kieran May Memorial Golf and Gala Weekend raises awareness. In 2013, ECCAC served 736 children in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Fundraising events only help the center to create a better and stronger community.



"It gives people a way to have a nice weekend while supporting the children who come to us for help," Hurst said. 



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WANT TO GO? The Kieran May Memorial Golf and Gala Weekend begins with the gala Saturday, March 1 at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. Golf begins at noon, Sunday March 2. Golf tournament cost per person is $400, which includes two tickets to the Gala. Gala tickets are $100 per person. Please call 833-9237, Ext. 222 to make reservations, or go to www.GolfandGala2014.charityhappenings.org to purchase tickets online.   For further information on ECCAC, visit www.eccac.org.