Press Releases

Drick Repeats as Long Drive Champion in Big Dog Contest

Lewisburg, Pa – White Deer’s Ross Drick might be getting older but he is getting longer too. His 319-yard drive Thursday evening was 9 yards longer than his 310-yard winning drive a year ago. He took home the Big Dog Prize in Long Drive Contest on the 15th tee at the Bucknell Golf Club. It was the fourth time the event has been held as a fundraiser for the Donald L Heiter Community Center in Lewisburg.

With the fifteenth tee holding three sets of bleachers, a fair crowd gathered to watch 8 of the longest hitters in the area square off.

In the opening round, all eight golfers were given 6 balls to try to outdistance the others but the ball had to hit the fairway to count. The four best moved on to the second round. Drick got three of his six balls in play, the longest of 319 yards got him through the first round easily. He advanced to the semi-finals along with Williamsport’s William Knauth (304), Williamsport’s Justin Cooley (292) and Lewisburg’s Al Kline, Jr. (283 Eliminated for the second round were Lewisburg’s Todd Vonderheid (276), Williamsport’s Allen Kiessling (264), Lewisburg’s Jeffrey Levitan (250) and Williamsport’s Brian Ratajczak (275).

In the semi-final round, this time only hitting 5 balls, it was Drick, who is employed at the Lewisburg prison and Knauth, a first-year student at Carnegie Mellon who advanced to the final round when Drick’s 302-yard blast again topped the field while Knauth registered 288 yards and then squared off in the finals. Cooley only got one in play at 256 yards and Kline’s best was 277.

Drick and Knauth have won four White Deer Club Championship between them. A coin toss determined who went first and it was Knauth who chose to go first. This time the finalists had only 4 balls to hit and Knauth got two of the four in play, his best was 285 yards. Drick’s first attempt in the final round was 318 yards and that clinched the title.

Drick took home a $500.00 VISA Gift card and Knauth and Kline (Senior winner) each got $250.00. Lewisburg’s Kline won the Big Dog Grand Prize for raising the most money for the Heiter Center, a total of $1691.50. Each of the contestants had to secure pledges as sponsorships and Kline’s efforts got him and his family a week in North Myrtle Beach at a 4-bedroom, 4 bath Ocean View Condo.

The contestants raised over $8000.00 in pledges and when combined with sponsorships from businesses and individuals, the Heiter Center raised just over $17,000.

The Donald L Heiter Community Center in Lewisburg was named after a former Lewisburg Chief of Police. They conduct after school programs and summer day camp for kids and a variety of community services that last year served over 4500 individuals from the surrounding area.

Long Drive Contest Looking for Contestants

Big Dog 4.0 to Benefit Lewisburg’s Heiter Center

Lewisburg, Pa.- “Who’s the Biggest Dog in Your Foursome?” That’s a question the Donald L Heiter Community Center in Lewisburg is asking area golfers in its promotional material for the Fourth “Be Part of Something Great” Long Drive Contest.

Scheduled for Thursday evening, August 16th at 6:00 pm. at the 15th Tee of the Bucknell Golf Club, event coordinators hope to bring together the area’s biggest hitters to settle the question of who hits the longest ball for this unique fund raiser to benefit the Heiter Center in Lewisburg.

Last year’s event raised nearly $20,000 for the Lewisburg charity that serves over 4500 people from the four-county area through programs like their summer day camp and after school programs for kids and other social and recreational programs for all age groups.

Allenwood’s Ross Drick was the winner last year, blasting a drive of 310 yards in the finals. He is entered again to defend his title for the longest drive where he won a $500.00 Visa gift card. But the big winner last year was Williamsport’s Justin Cooley, who raised the most money (over $1300.00) and won a week in Myrtle Beach with his family. Organizers of the event are looking for a field of strong challengers. Competition will be in three divisions for both Men and Women; An Open Division (8 finalists), Senior Division (Over 50 years old- 4 Finalists) and Junior Division (17 and under).

To enter, golfers are encouraged to identify fellow golfers who either really hit a long ball or can raise a lot of money. Each contestant must raise a minimum of $250.00 in sponsorship pledges from friends, family, fellow golfers and businesses. They don’t have to come up with the funds themselves but the contestant that raises the most sponsorship dollars to benefit the Heiter Center Annual Fund (The Big Dog) will win a one-week vacation in Myrtle Beach for himself and 7 of his friends or family.

Interested Contestants can register online at https://hcclongdrive.tk where they will receive instructions and assistance in securing sponsorships. Likewise, people can go to the same website and make a pledge in support of their favorite contestant. Sponsors can pledge either a flat dollar amount or pledge so much per yard of the contestant’s longest drive.

“This event is a lot of fun for both contestants and spectators”, commented Jeff Ranck, a co-chair of the event with, Dr. Gale Reish. “It’s not only about who hit’s the longest drive, the big prize goes to the guy that raises the most money in pledges. We hope that golfers and friends really get behind their “Big Dog” and try to win that trip to Myrtle Beach”, he added. “You can be a short hitter and still win the big prize if you raise the most money”.

Ranck said that the finals on August 16th will again be set-up to accommodate spectators, complete with concessions and bleachers. Individual sponsors who pledged $1.00 per yard or more will have preferred seating at the finals The deadline for entries is, August 6th, additional information is available online at www.donaldheiter.org.

Heiter Center Needs Cash to Raise a Roof

Originally published on The Daily Item

A contractor came to the Donald L. Heiter Community Center to inspect its roof after it sprung a leak.

It was stamped for installation in 1972 and rated for 10 years.

“1982 is really when it should have been dealt with,” Andrea Tufo, executive director, said of the flat, neoprene roof. “It’s time to build a pitched roof on top.”

It’s time to raise some funds, too.

A goal of $75,000 is set for the Heiter Center — the cost of a new roof plus repairs to water damage on the wooden floor in the gymnasium along with contingency cash for the project overall. It hopes to meet the mark by early February.

The Heiter Center, 100 N. Fifth St., holds an annual fund drive to support its programming but a capital campaign is out of the norm. August will mark 25 years for the nonprofit youth center.

“That’s a lot of money for us,” Tufo said.

Donations can be made online at www.gofundme.com/heiter-kids-need-a-roof or under the Support the Center section of www.donaldheiter.org. Donations can also be made by mail or in person at 100 N. Fifth St.

The Heiter Center operates on an average annual budget of $250,000. It has just two full-time employees and is staffed largely by seasonal workers and volunteers. They serve 300 children enrolled in educational and recreational programs including before-school and after-school care. All told, Tufo said 6,600 children and adults were served by its services in 2016, including through the CommunityZone, which now falls under its umbrella.

Among the volunteers were students from Bucknell University’s Management 101 course. The college students sought in-kind donations and raised additional cash to buy mold-resistant paint and paint supplies. They redid the gym after the leak was patched and plan to paint an adjacent room.

“All of our money went to paint. We did have a bit extra to go toward the floor,” said Haley Mullen, 21, a junior at Bucknell.

University student involvement at the youth center is a continuation of the town and gown relationship between Bucknell and Lewisburg, Mullen said. It’s convenient, too.

“We can walk right over. It’s nice and local,” Mullen said.

The Heiter Center offers scholarships to families who may not be able to afford the modest fees for its programming. A school bus was recently purchased for the center to transport kids to off-site activities and planning is well under way for a new teen center in Mifflinburg.

According to Tufo, a Chestnut Street (Route 45) location is secured and it’s a matter of meeting code and zoning requirements before the site will be official. Among its planned features are a cafe and art studio.

The demographic will be different than the Lewisburg locale: 13 years and up compared to ages 5 to 13. With the bus, Tufo expects teens from Lewisburg to travel to their neighboring community and vice versa for Heiter Center programs and events.

A soft opening is planned for the summer and a full opening in September. Community support by way of participation and volunteers is needed.

“Mifflinburg is a different community and we want to make sure we appreciate that and build our own network there,” Tufo said.