Last week I had a delightful conversation with Rachel Trafton of Corinth, who is the cashier and “Jill-of-all-trades” at WhiteTail Golf Course in Charleston, which is owned by her uncle and aunt, Scott and Shari Duthie.
Next fall, Rachel will be a sophomore at the University of Southern Maine, where she is studying social work with plans to get a law degree.
While she admits she is not a golfer, she is an athlete whom sports fans might know as a former field hockey and basketball player at Central High School, where she graduated as class salutatorian in 2009, or as a current member of the USM field hockey team.
This summer, as has been true “for the past four or five years,” she said, Rachel’s focus is on activities at WhiteTail, and this year she has pretty much taken on the responsibility of organizing its annual tournament to benefit the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, held each May in Old Town.
Rachel is not unfamiliar with the disease.
When she was just 4, her dad, Mike Trafton, was diagnosed with melanoma, and two years ago, her grandfather Howard Trafton, who helped design the course and mowed it for years, lost his life to cancer.
Before I spoke with her, Rachel had e-mailed details about the fundraiser, now in its fourth year.
“Each year, we have changed the name [of the tournament] due to the loss of someone special to the golf course,” Rachel explained.
This year, the tournament honors the memory of Jonathan Mullis of Dover-Foxcroft, who was just 7 years old when he died of brain cancer in December 2009.
The Jonathan Mullis Memorial Golf tournament begins with shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at WhiteTail, and there are openings for 12 teams for each start.
The entry fee, which includes lunch, is $30 each for golfers playing a four-person scramble format.
Hole sponsorships, which can be made in honor or in memory of someone you know or have known with cancer, are $50.
Gift certificates or merchandise for prizes will be accepted, along with donations.
To register or make a donation, call Rachel at WhiteTail, 285-7730, or send donations to WhiteTail Golf Course, 373 School Road, Charleston 04422.
Diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in April 2008, Jonathan Mullis, grandson of WhiteTail member Bob Davids, made it through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy only to have the cancer return and take his life nearly two years later.
According to Rachel, “Jonathan loved coming to golf at WhiteTail with Grampie Bob.”
Jonathan “called the golf course the ‘tree house.’”
In its three years, this tournament has raised more than $12,000 for Mike Trafton’s Old Town Relay for Life Team.
That money, Rachel said, “benefits Maine cancer patients and families, as well as cancer research at The Jackson Laboratory” in Bar Harbor.
Rachel said of the event, “it’s just so much fun.
“Every year, it’s just super. I get goose bumps just seeing the people out there” and reading the “signs for people who are sponsors and knowing the money goes for such a great cause.”
“It’s just overwhelming how great the people are,” she said.
With openings for just 24 teams, and a choice of an 8 a.m. or a 1 p.m. start, you’d better register right away to get your preferred tee time.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; firstname.lastname@example.org; 990-8288.