About 200 Troy University alumni and supporters participated in the 2016 Jackson Thornton TROY Alumni Invitational golf tournament in Dothan this week.
The annual tournament raises money that will fund Troy University scholarships for area high schoolers.
“It’s great to give back and maybe help someone else continue on with their education,” said Phillip Gilley, a member of the Class of 1986. “I think it’s a good thing for the University for the alumni to give back. The University meant a lot to me, not only for giving me an education, but I was in a fraternity there and made lifelong friends.”
Tommy Bedsole, a TROY alum who also represents tournament sponsor Jackson Thornton, said the event has been key in helping Dothan students attend TROY, both at the Troy Campus and the Dothan Campus.
“We started this about 15 years ago as a way to get scholarships for local students,” Bedsole said. “We’ve had great support from day one. It’s fantastic.”
One of the tournament’s biggest supporters has been Home Oil Co. owner Tim Shirley, a member of the Class of 1980.
“We make a lot of donations out here and make the tournament go. TROY is near and dear to my heart — my wife graduated from there, both my children graduated from there, so we’re vetted, as they say,” Shirley said.
Gilley said the event also helps the Dothan community.
“It’s always a good impact for the community,” he said. “You’ve got people coming into town and spending money, enjoying the hospitality.”
Not all the golfers who participated this week were alumni.
Preston Brooks, a Dothan resident, said he’s never attended TROY but loves the institution regardless.
“I did not go to TROY, but I support TROY in every facet of the game,” Brooks said. “They’re just enthused about what they do. They teach those kids more than just sports or academics, but about life, and understanding what it takes to make a successful person. Because of the academics and the school itself, everybody wants to support what goes on at TROY. We love the Trojans.”