Communication Builds Our Community

Courage Awards presented to Local Couple at "18 Aces to Conquer Cancer" Tournament

Volunteers Hap and Chris Hazelwood Earned the Award for Work With Your Polk County Hub Support Group

Polk County residents Hap and Chris Hazelwood were the recipients of the Courage Award presented at a luncheon following the 11th Annual 18 Aces to Conquer Cancer Golf Tournament at Winter Haven Country Club. Both are cancer survivors who epitomize the strength it takes to fight the disease.

"The goal of 18 Aces to Conquer Cancer is to raise funds for pancreatic cancer, but also to have a fun round of golf for a Great cause!" said Ralph Mahalak Jr., co-owner of the Mahalak Auto Group. The tournament has raised over $200,000 for pancreatic cancer research and other related charities.

Chris Hazelwood is executive director of Your Polk County Hub, Inc. while Hap is treasurer and a director of the group, which was formed to empower those fighting cancer by "providing support, resources, and healing that is whole person centered, and provides for the mind, body, and soul."

The couple is active in the central Florida community and have previously been awarded the Banker's Cup Man and Woman of the Year. The couple have seven children and nineteen grandchildren.

"We are proud to present these awards to two individuals with such deep ties to the community," Mahalak said of the Hazelwoods.

The charity golf event is sponsored annually by the Low Payment Kings, powered by the Mahalak Auto Group, this year to benefit the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, and rotates between locations in Florida and other states where the Mahalak family owns dealerships.

The "18 Aces to Conquer Cancer" tournament and associated activities aim to spread awareness of pancreatic cancer while donating proceeds to research and patient aid. Players in the tournament have a chance on each hole to win a new car Jeep lease for every hole-in-one, donated by the Mahalak Auto Group, which includes the Lake Wales Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership on US 27.

The course is set up so that every hole is a par three and play is a four-person best ball scramble. There were $31 million dollars' worth of vehicles to give away at this years tournament, which was held on January 8.


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