Let’s honor a friend for a great cause

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 13, 2010

This weekend marks the first annual Cliff Merritt Invitational Golf Tournament, with the fitting motto, “A tournament as unique as the man.”

This event started several months ago when a phone call from Bill Hurt came into my home with the dual idea of raising much-needed funds for cancer research through the area Relay for Life event and expressing love and support for our friend, Cliff, who is battling cancer.

To gauge Cliff’s presence in this community is almost overwhelming. As a bank president, his rapport with all his customers from the wealthy to the meek is the same.

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His business dealings are always above reproach, and he is respected throughout Mississippi and Louisiana in his industry. Cliff is always willing to provide leadership within his community and has effectively served as president of the Natchez Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Vidalia Chamber as well.

He is always willing to put his shoulder to the wheel in an effort to improve community, business and industry. However, Cliff is most loved for just being Cliff!

As an avid golfer and fisherman, his spirit of competition pushes him through his treatment days.

Everyone who knows Cliff knows that he is a worthy adversary for the disease and it is his intention to beat it, as so many have done!

As a family man, his dedication and love for his mom and dad is unfailing.

His wife, Debra, and daughters, Katie and Jessie, are blessed with his Godly love and his ability to be an awesome father.

Debra has played the same key role in this tournament she has played throughout their life together — making sure Cliff’s needs are met and all goals are achieved. It is a blessing that all Cliff’s girls will be present for the entire tournament!

We all agree that one thing is necessary to fight cancer, and that’s funding!

Hole sponsorships are still available for this weekend’s tournament at Beau Pré, and I encourage you, either individually or through your company, to send a check for $125 to the Cliff Merritt Invitational Golf Tournament, c/o Howard Jones, 15 Bluff Hills Place, Natchez, MS 39120.

Please join me in fighting this disease and honoring my friend, Cliff Merritt. My wife, Sandy, and I treasure his friendship.

All tournament proceeds will be donated to Relay for Life.

Thank you!

Fred Middleton is a Natchez resident.