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The Greatest luck



Published: Sun, August 17, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)


For the past several months, many of us have been working hard to craft a fitting honor for Youngstown son Simeon Booker.

The first black reporter for The Washington Post, his journalism in the 1950s during the infancy of the civil-rights movement helped fuel the change that would happen in the next decade.

What happened last week in Ferguson, Mo., drew plenty of comparisons to the efforts of the people of that era, the targeting of journalists included. As hard as last week was to watch, it’s a mere flinch to what was endured by Simeon and protesters of that era.

Creating an appropriate venture for such a distinguished Youngstowner has not been easy. Smart people, great mission, careful organizing, and still a work in progress. We’re looking for a bit of luck, too.

I think we overlook at times how fortunate and vital luck can be to even the best operations.

I read this week about a couple of earnest community ventures that are struggling and closing, or have closed.

I feel fortunate that another proud Vindy venture marks a big milestone this week, and how pivotal luck was for us.

Our fifth year of Greatest Golfer of the Valley wraps up over the next eight days.

The event is as much community and camaraderie as it is competition. It’s as rewarding a gathering as I’ve been a part of in my 25 professional years.

And it involved so much luck to get to today.

We had this cool idea in 2010.

But launching an individual golf event in a sea of scrambles was counter thinking — especially an individual event for all golfers, not just the “almost pro” golfers.

In a span of 10 days, we met for the first time Dennis Miller, Ed Muransky, Mike Ferranti, Jonah Karzmer and John Diana.

While somewhat strategic, it was also throwing darts and hoping to get lucky with the right partners.

Five years later, they’re as pivotal in Greatest’s success as they were in 2010 when they engaged us in some general spit-balling about this cool idea.

Farmers National Bank was introduced to us and also liked the concept.

All of the initial gambles by that crew allowed success to grow, and others joined in.

Farmers was joined by Covelli Enterprises, Superior Beverage, New Castle School of Trades, Mark Thomas Ford, Sleepy Hollow and MyLoopCard.

Today, Greatest is 3,000 golfers, 25 charities, 11 golf courses, five months of action for adults, teens and scramble teams. Our youngest participant is 12, and our oldest is 78.

Last night at Tippecanoe Country Club, 25 of the best ball-strikers launched the latest chapter of Greatest Golfer — a long-drive competition.

The result of it all is a more-connected community.

We’re grateful for where Greatest is at today, and glad to be around the talent, skill and care of all of our partners and investors.

But gosh, as we watch other events and organizations struggle, and also work hard to make this honor for Simeon Booker happen, I’m also grateful for the luck we had.

Sometimes you can work as hard as you want.

But success still needs a little luck.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at tfranko@vindy.com. He blogs, too, on vindy.com. Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.


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