WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVNS) — People from all across West Virginia teed off at The Greenbrier Resort on Thursday, May 27, 2021 for the first ever Game Changer golf classic.
Lawmakers, state leaders, former coaches, and players alike met at the historic Old White TPC. The state’s fight against substance abuse is decades old, affecting nearly every West Virginian in one way or another.
In order to try and take an upper hand in this fight, state representatives worked to bring the Game Changer organization to the state. To start off strong, the organization put together the first Game Changer golf classic, bringing big names back home to show their support.
“It is time to make a difference here in West Virginia and I am a game changer,” said Nick Saban, University of Alabama Head football coach.
Governor Jim Justice spent the day golfing with Saban, as well as legendary Marshall Head Coach Bob Pruett. They were just a few of the many people playing to support opioid prevention education.
An issue Governor Justice said affects us all.
“And with all that goodness going on, we can’t let that one thing, that one very thing that can cannibalize us all, rich, poor, black, white, everyone, it doesn’t matter. This affects us all and we have to stop it,” said Gov. Justice (R) – WV.
Throughout the day, those playing continuously discussed the need for change in the state. For Coach Pruett, he said he will always be proud of the national championship he brought to the state, but there is another victory he continues to chase.
“Until my dying day, and I’m gonna say this about myself and Coach Nehlen, we are gonna stay here and help the kids and the people of West Virginia because it is too important not to,” said Pruett.
Governor Justice said with all of the progress they continue to make in this fight, much like the 18th hole, this is something the state cannot afford to bogey.
“We are just too good for this, that is just all there is to it. We are just plain too good,” said Gov. Justice.
While one part of the event took place out on the course, the other part focused on discussing substance abuse disorder and opioid prevention.
First Lady Cathy Justice joined other state leaders to hear from people who suffer from substance abuse. The discussion focused on communication and education in order to break the stigma and bridge the gap.
“Substance abuse disorder and recovery because the opposite of addiction is connection and when we talk about things, it gives other people the power to talk about those things,” said JoAnna Vance, who is in recovery from substance abuse disorder.
Vance said events like these are key because prevention education needs to start in the homes and the schools to make a significant impact.