Sports and education, two things one local man has incorporated into every fiber of his being. Keys Fillauer has made quite the impact on Oak Ridge and East Tennessee.
The golf course is green, still wet from the early morning dew, just waiting for the first round of golfers. And that is where the Dew Sweepers come in. They are always the first to tee off every single Saturday. One of their longtime members is Keys Fillauer.
"I was a sports nut growing up, whatever season it was, from football, basketball, baseball," says Keys.
His passion for golf didn't come until later in life.
"Golf is something that's a lifetime event and and still to this day I get as much fun and enjoyment out of it as I did back then," says Keys.
Golf is a constant for Keys and so his wife of 27 years, Melanie.
"I always kid him and tell him he married me because I was a member of the country club and he wasn't," says Melanie.
Keys is quite a guy. A teacher in Oak Ridge for 31 years.
"I graduated on August 25 from the University of Chattanooga and was at work on August 28 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. How lucky!" says Keys.
He taught geography and civics and coached basketball.
"To see your former students, how they've gone on to be successful in their lives and for them to come back and just say, 'Thank you.' That's great!" says Keys.
He then retired, or redirected as he says, and took on a different role.
"The next thing I knew I was running for the Board of Education. 11 years later I am still on the Board of Education and currently serve as the Chairman of the Oak Ridge School Board," says Keys.
But the list of Keys accomplishments doesn't end there. For a large part of his life, he's worked on making his passion charitable.
"In 1977 Bing Crosby died. Bing Crosby had a golf tournament in California that was called the Bing Crosby Pro-Am and Clambake," says Keys.
He and his friends wanted to make sure someone carried on the tradition. Keys was selected thanks to his summers off.
"We were trying to think of a name for the tournament. I said, 'If I'm doing all the work then the name of the golf tournament, and this is the official name of the golf tournament, is the First Annual Keys Fillauer Invitation Golf Tournament and Clambake'," says Keys.
35 years later more than 100 participants and a lot of money raised for the Ronald McDonald House, but it started small.
"When you walk into that house, see what they do, see what their needs are, we said, 'Here's the check for $400,'" says Keys. "Last year, our 34th year, we presented them with a check for $40,000."
In total the tournament has raised $653,000 for the Ronald McDonald House, but this year is its last.
"On Saturday night when the clock strikes midnight, it will be history," says Keys.
Keys Fillauer, a husband and father, a lifelong educator, a public servant.
"Both of my parents were very very involved in the community and so I learned from them what it meant to serve your community," says Keys.
One of Your Stories. There's no place like this one.
This year's tournament is next weekend at the Oak Ridge Country Club. Click the link to the right for more information.