Christmas Benefits Begin July 4

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Payson's Public Safety Christmas for Kids organization will be shouldering a much bigger burden than it has it past holiday season.

This year, the police department has assumed leadership of Santa's List -- the Rim country's main toy drive. The previous leaders of Santa's List have retired after 17 years of running the organization.

"We are going to have to do much more," Christmas for Kids member and Payson Police Detective Matt Van Camp said.

He estimates as many as 130 families could sign up with Payson Public Safety for Christmas assistance.

The Public Safety committee's efforts to earn more money for the upcoming holidays begins at the Independence Day celebration at Green Valley Park and continues Aug. 26 and 27 with a golf tournament.

During the GVP fireworks show beginning at dusk, public safety officers will host a snack bar that will sell hot dogs, soft drinks and glow ropes.

The benefit golf tournament begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 26 at Payson Golf Course with a no host cocktail hour and barbecue steak dinner cooked up by Albert and Charlene Hunt.

Following the meal, the tournament sponsors will hold their annual public safety officer called "The Wheel of Misfortune."

Each three-person team entered in the tournament will have the opportunity to bid on an officer -- selected by spinning a Las Vegas-type gambling wheel -- to fill out a foursome for the following day's tournament.

Among the 21 public safety officers on the auction block spinning wheel will be Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner, Payson Fire Chief Marty deMasi and Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores.

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Matt Van Camp

Mulligans also will be available for purchase at the auction.

The tournament tees off at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start.

Tournament entry fee is $125 per player or $375 per team.

Van Camp stresses the entry fee does not include the purchase of the public safety team member.

The entry fee does include the steak dinner, green fees, golf cart and prizes.

According to Van Camp, there also will be prizes for longest drives, closest-to-the-pin tee shots and possibly for a hole-in-one.

All proceeds from the Independence Day snack bar and the tournament will be used to purchase Christmas gifts for needy Rim country children.

Van Camp is hoping to earn upwards of $10,000.

Former Payson Police Officer Charlene Hunt, who has long participated in the holiday gift program, says it fills a niche in the Rim country.

"There are so many children that wouldn't receive much for Christmas if it wasn't for (these Christmas charities)," she said.

For entry forms or more information, call Van Camp at (928) 474-5177, ext 251.

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