For 21 years — and counting — Charlotte’s Providence Country Club has joined forces with Hospice of Union County.

When Providence hosted Hospice of Union County’s Griffin Motor Company Golf Tournament in May, old friends gathered, memories were shared, and record funds were raised. The event contributed $167,000 to Hospice of Union County, the largest amount ever raised for the organization.

Inspired by his personal experience with hospice care, Providence member Rob Kreisher started the event in 1996. From year one, the tournament has been held at Providence and has raised $1.8 million for the organization overall.

“Hospice took care of some of my family members, and I was so impressed with what they did,” he says. “They not only helped patients who were dying, but they taught the family about the process.”

One of the reasons this tournament is successful is because members are committed to playing it.

“We sell out every year,” says Kreisher. “People fly in from all over the country and most everyone comes back year after year. This is a charity that the players want to support. Before we present the check to Hospice of Union County, everyone’s always asking me, ‘What’s the check going to be?’ They under- stand the impact of what they’ve done.”

This year’s event began with a barbecue lunch overlooking the 18th hole, where family and friends purchased in-memory signs to honor loved ones.

“It’s a nice way to pay respect,” says Susanna Trotter, corporate communications associate for Carolinas HealthCare System.

Before the first tee-off, a bagpiper played two verses of “Amazing Grace,” followed by a balloon release on the back of the 18th green.

After the round, a dinner reception and silent auction capped the day. Items for bid included a football signed by Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly as well as Lilly Pulitzer and Tory Burch items.

But the tournament is more than just a round of golf and an evening with friends.

“Every year, families tell us how much they enjoy the day, and they’re so glad to be a part of it,” says Trotter. “Tears are shed as everyone reminisces. They appreciate all that is done to raise funds because hospice helped their loved ones at the end of their lives. They appreciate that this keeps happening, and they’re given the chance to honor those special memories.”