Shoot for Joy fundraiser to benefit Kids Rein
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – Gerald McGraw lost his wife, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Sgt. Joy McGraw, to cancer on Aug. 8, 2010, nine days after her 48th birthday.
McGraw said he needed to do something to aid in his grieving process.
He chose shooting sporting clays.
McGraw, a lifelong Huntersville resident, said the hobby helped him through some tough times after his wife died. But he wanted to use his desire to shoot sporting clays to help others, not just himself.
Enter Shoot for Joy, an annual fundraiser held in Huntersville that benefits a local organization.
He organized the first event last year.
The fundraiser attracted 48 shooters from the area, including business owners, police officers, firefighters and friends of the McGraws. Participants shot 70 rounds and raised more than $5,000 for CMPD.
“We got enough money to start a nonprofit organization, the Mecklenburg Bull Shooters,” McGraw said.
The inaugural Shoot for Joy was a success despite McGraw having to do much of the planning himself, he said.
“It was tough last year just getting everything together. I felt like I had to do a lot of it alone,” he said. “But the support from the neighborhood when we put it on was great.”
McGraw said those who attended posed the same question: Why not hold the event again?
“It went better than I imagined,” McGraw said. “We knew we had to do it again. We got people into shooting who hadn’t done it in a long time.”
The 2011 Shoot for Joy was tailored to those with prior shooting experience. It’s open to the public this year.
There’s another difference the second time around: all proceeds and donations this year will benefit Kids Rein, a Huntersville-based non-profit that provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons to children with special needs. It also supports officers injured in the line of duty.
McGraw examined local nonprofits and decided that Kids Rein was a fitting recipient of the fundraiser’s benefits.
“I felt like they deserved it,” McGraw said.
Kids Rein founder Teressa Tucker said McGraw contacted her in June with his decision. She was shocked.
“When we found out about it, we were so honored,” Tucker said. “Seeing another organization raise funds for a nonprofit like us is the true definition of a win-win scenario.”
McGraw said he expects the 2012 event to attract a larger audience and raise more money for the community. Though losing his wife hurts, the satisfaction McGraw said he gets from honoring her memory to help benefit the community is rewarding.
Want to go?
This year’s fundraiser takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 25 at Kidd Farm in Huntersville. Entry costs $100 and includes 10 station sporting clays, five stands, lunch, door prizes, a silent auction and a raffle for a 12-gauge Browning Citori shotgun.