On April 24, members of the Round Bay community opened their homes and hearts to honor one of their beloved, longtime fellow residents, Don Nippard, who died unexpectedly on December 31, 2020.
“Big Red,” as he was affectionately referred to by neighbors, enjoyed a good laugh, a great dance, and beautiful sunsets on the Severn River. His larger-than-life personality required a proper tribute, so his wife, Janet Anderson, came up with an unconventional but fitting way to pay homage to her fun-loving husband, combining two of his favorite passions — golf and community service.
Last year, while golf courses were closed due to COVID-19, Nippard designed a nine-hole course in his neighbors’ yards within the Round Bay community. To minimize any damage to property, he incorporated “birdie balls,” which are lightweight plastic rings that travel only a limited distance. His creative format utilized only one club and included Christmas tree stands as the target.
As a result of the success of the 2020 COVID-19 Birdie Ball Tournament, many neighbors asked if their yards could be included for the 2021 tournament Nippard was planning for the spring. Unfortunately, due to his untimely passing, Nippard was not able to fulfill this plan. However, in keeping with his vision, his wife enlisted some friends to establish the Don Nippard Memorial Invitational Birdie Ball Masters Tournament with the proceeds benefitting one of his favorite charities, the TCP Youth Empowerment organization.
TCP Youth Empowerment was one of the charities that Nippard felt strongly about and enjoyed supporting with his mentoring. Its mission is to equip middle and high school students with programs geared to inspire local youth in becoming future business and community leaders.
In fact, on his last evening, Nippard served as a judge on a panel evaluating student presentations, providing feedback and voting as to which group should be awarded funds to execute their project. His favorite project was the one proposed to restore oysters to the Chesapeake Bay. He suggested that the group try working with water-privileged communities (such as Round Bay) to seek contributions and potentially additional support for their endeavors. Unfortunately, the oyster conservationists were not the first-place winners, however, after meeting with organization founder Andy Schindling, discussions indicated that the establishment of a separate fund in Nippard’s name could fund this team and possibly others in the future.
So, with a turnout of about 100 golfers and more than 30 volunteers, participants came from as far away as Missouri and North Carolina to take part. The event was a mixture of golf meets tailgate party — a function that completely reflected Nippard’s character!
Prior to the shotgun start, the golfers heard from Carys Preston, the young student who was part of the oyster restoration initiative. She shared how TCP Youth Empowerment has helped her understand the importance of creating and executing on a vision.
After the round was completed, the golfers and spectators were treated to a barbecue dinner catered by Adam’s Taphouse and Grille and won prizes generously donated by local businesses such as Dawson’s Liquors, Bike Doctor, and La Posta Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant.
They then presented Schindling with a check for $7,700. Schindling expressed to the crowd the impact that the funds will make. "I want to thank you all again for choosing TCP Youth Empowerment as the beneficiary of this inaugural event in Don’s memory. This event was remarkable in all aspects,” he said. “The course was fun and challenging, the food was great, the atmosphere was buzzing, and the overall support amazing! Kudos to everyone who played a part. The funds donated will go a long way in helping to bring our students’ community events to life and bring much-needed support to the communities we serve.”