SUPPORTER SPOTLIGHT – Interview with Dwight Ethridge, NAPMA Golf Tournament Director
How did you first get involved with Nashville Rescue Mission?
The Nashville Area Plumbing and Mechanical Association (NAPMA) first got involved with the Mission back in 2003. Bill Hoffman, one of our committee members —his brother Fred used to work at the Mission. Through him, we heard about all the excellent work the Mission was doing in the community.
We decided to support the Mission’s work through an annual golf tournament. Over the last 17 years, the NAPMA golf tournament has raised over $800,000 to help the homeless. Over and above this event, many of our members choose to support the Mission both personally and professionally.
“we’re not just investing in a great organization, we are helping change people’s lives…” -Dwight Ethridge
What prompted your first financial gift to the Mission?
The Mission offers a monthly tour called the “I Had No Idea Tour.” Whenever we take new members on the tour, they come away enthusiastic about supporting the Mission, and I always learn something new. This tour is an excellent way for someone to learn about all the different things the Mission does to help people in need.
What do you think is the most important thing Nashville Rescue Mission does for the Nashville community?
In my opinion, the most essential thing the Mission does is help the homeless. There are so many people in our community who just need a hand up to get back on their feet. The Mission does that for anyone in need.
What would you say to someone who is considering making a gift to the Mission?
You genuinely have no idea who you may be helping. I will never forget the year I met Oliver Lee, a program participant who was playing in the golf tournament. While his height could have given him away (6’7”), I was surprised when he told me the Chicago Bulls had drafted him in 1981. An injury sidelined his career, and some poor choices over the years found him penniless and alone. As we were getting ready to play and started talking, he shared that the Mission helped him get back on his feet where he felt like living again.
When I hear stories like that, I’m reminded we’re not just investing in a great organization, we are helping change people’s lives, so they do feel like living again.