Lopez honored by sheriffs' group

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga. -- Hall of Fame golfer Nancy Lopez can add another trophy to her mantle. But this time, the award has less to do about golf and more to do with her charitable spirit.

On Tuesday, Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul and former sheriff Jamil Saba showered the golfing great with platitudes and presented her with an award from the Georgia Sheriffs' Association, recognizing her as an honorary member of the organization.

The honor is based on Lopez's continued support and participation in the organization's annual charity golf tournament, which raises money to fund five Georgia Sheriffs' Youth Homes throughout the state.

"She's always been a classy lady both on an off the fairways," Sproul said. "While many pro athletes talk about helping those in need, she's walking the walk and is setting the bar pretty high, if you ask me, about how to be role model for our youth."

Last year, Lopez again lent her name and her expertise as a hall-of-fame LPGA golfer to the tournament and helped raise more than $61,000 for the charity.

"People are just crazy about her," Saba said. "People will literally come of out their homes to see her and just be around her. She's got the skills and personality to do just about anything and she has helped a lot of children get another start."

The Sheriffs' Youth Homes serve as a haven to abandoned, abused and neglected children who often are left in dire situations as a result of domestic violence, drug use, disaster or tragedy, Sproul said.

"When you look at how these things affect young people, it's extremely important to place them in an environment that helps set them on the straight path," Sproul said. "It's a cliche but it's true -- kids often don't care what you know, but they know that you care and that's what we, as sheriffs, are trying to do with these homes."

Lopez will likely be participating in her fifth tournament this year at Heron's Nest Golf Club in Henry County, officials say.