DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As the sun rises over Pelican Bay Country Club in Daytona, retired postal worker, Greg Korkus, is looking forward to a fun morning on the golf course.
“The good lord has blessed us with a beautiful day,” Korkus says looking up at a the streaking orange clouds overhead.
Korkus' clubs and cart wait nearby but before he can pull out his driver he has work to do.
Korkus is manning the check-in table at the 32nd “Soaring Eagles” Charity Golf Event. It’s a tournament he’s helped organize since 1993.
“We fill it up every year,” he says proudly. “Sometimes we turn people away.”
Korkus stands in front of a folding table with a roll of raffle tickets in front of him. His goal this morning, sell as many as possible. And Korkus isn’t shy with his sales pitch.
“Get your wallet out, get your money out,” Korkus calls out. “It’s all for a good cause.”
A steady stream of players arrive, many of them current or former postal workers."
Korkus retired in 2013 after 38 years working for the U.S. Postal Service in Daytona Beach.
“It got started because the employees at the post office in Daytona were helping out kids at Christmas,” Korkus said. “Somebody came up with the idea, after three years of us passing the hat, that let’s do a tournament.”
Korkus says past tournaments have raised around $20,000 each. All the proceeds go toward the purchase of Christmas gifts for under privileged kids, a portion also helps cancer survivors with their bills.
“It’s a community effort, it’s not me, it is not me,” Korkus said. “It’s only successful because of the people that volunteer to come out and hand out refreshments and food on the golf course. We have people on nine holes out of 18.”
Heather Fisher has been volunteering on hole No. 9 since the tournament first started. The letter carrier welcomes players to the “Famous Polish Hole” where a variety of traditional Polish dishes are offered as part of the registration fee.
“We have squatters rights,” she laughs. “Because we were the first ones to start cooking.”
A steady flow of socially distanced golf cart traffic stops by the set-up. Steaming hot plates sizzle and Polish music plays in the background.
“None of this would happen without him,” Fisher said when asked about Korkus. “He’s such a giving person. There’s no one else like him.”
Just around the corner, Gary Hand leans on his cart as he waits to tee off on hole No. 10. He said the food stops are just as much of a draw for players like himself as the opportunity to play.
“The polish hole is pretty important,” Hand says with a smile. “It’s all home made and it keeps us going.”
Fisher said she’s happy to volunteer each year because she knows how important the charity is to the people on her route. “We’re giving back to needy families,” Fisher said, touching her hand to her chest." I’m sorry I get choked up. It’s just real special. Especially this year for the kids. Nobody sees it more than your letter carrier, what’s going on. So we’re happy to give back."
Korkus was nominated for the News 6 Getting Results Award by his brother-in-law, Chet Sheltra.
“I did it just to irritate him,” Sheltra laughs. “But I see him do this kind of stuff all the time. He’s one of the most generous people I know.”
As Korkus and the other players make their way around the course he says he can finally relax.
“It’s awesome that all these people are out here,” Korkus said as climbs back into his cart ready to head to the next tee box. “It’s a very exciting day to see all this and that everyone is so happy.”