It was May 23rd when Otis Chambers got the call.
“I came in the house and there was a message on the family’s answering machine,” Chambers recalled Wednesday.
“So I called Josh Mattox back, and that’s when I started crying.”
Those were tears of joy, when Holliday Board of Directors member Josh Mattox told Chambers that his daughter Cassidy had been selected as the 32nd recipient of the $30,000 Don Holliday Memorial Scholarship.
Then came the tough part of keeping the news to himself and his wife, Michelle.
“It was so hard because we had Cassidy’s graduation party Sunday and I wanted to just shout it to everybody,” Chambers said following the official announcement Wednesday at Roanoke Country Club.
“I had to just keep it to myself and it was hard to keep it from Cassidy.”
The winner of the most lucrative scholarship awarded in the Roanoke Valley didn’t have a clue until she walked into the club ballroom minutes before the announcement.
“I was completely surprised,” said Cassidy, a senior at Staunton River High School.
“My Dad kept a great surprise, and I didn’t figure it out. I thought it was going to be a luncheon of like everyone who interviewed. I was shocked when I found out ... and ecstatic.”
It was uplifting news for a family that has been reeling a bit from a pair of recent surgeries Michelle had to undergo.
“It’s just a blessing to know that Cassidy now has her college paid for,” said Otis Chambers, whose daughter this fall will enter Western Carolina University, where she plans to major in physical therapy plus play on the Southern Conference member school’s women’s golf team.
Chambers earned first-team all-region and all-conference honors, plus made the Roanoke Valley Golf Hall of Fame All-Metro team last fall.
In the classroom, Chambers has been an ace as well, ranking 13th in a class of 237 with a GPA of 4.03.
She also was president of the school’s National Honor Society.
Her well-rounded resume also included volunteer community service work with the Rescue Mission, Straight Street, Agape Center and Goodview Baptist Church.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Cassidy said. “God does amazing work.”
Golf opened the door for the girl who became Staunton River High’s first Holliday scholarship recipient.
“Without golf I probably wouldn’t have heard of this scholarship,” she said. “I love golf. It means the world to me. It has helped me a lot with my character, my honesty and integrity plus my decision-making in golf and out of golf.
“I have confidence in the decisions that I make because in golf if you’re not confident you’re probably not going to hit a good shot. Got to stick with your decision and go with it,” she said.
“I try to be a good mentor for youngsters who play golf and encourage them ... that even though it’s tough right now it will get better. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s very rewarding in the end.”
Proceeds for the scholarship are provided by the annual Don Holliday Memorial golf tournament that draws full fields every year.
The event began in 1987. This year’s tournament will be played June 23 at Roanoke Country Club.