CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Ever heard of paying to work? Maybe you have, but it's certainly not common, unless of course, the job you're doing can only be described in terms of glowing superlatives like "chance of a lifetime."
Which is exactly what prompted Charleston resident Jim Strawn -- and hundreds of others -- to volunteer, for a fee of $80, to work at last year's Greenbrier Classic, a PGA Tour event that draws top players, along with their families and fans, from around the world to West Virginia's Greenbrier resort, in White Sulphur Springs.
More than 1,400 volunteers turned out in 2013. From that crowd, the tournament's volunteer committee whittled down the list of top volunteers to one name: Jim Strawn.
Earlier this month he was presented with the Greenbrier Classic's award for Top Volunteer of the Year.
"We really rely on all the volunteers," said Monte Ortel, executive tournament director, who presented the award Feb. 8 at the resort. The top volunteer is chosen on the basis of work ethic, how they represent themselves and the resort and, most important, who the committee feels has gone "above and beyond" in performing their duties, Ortel added.
Strawn said he was driven to sign up, in part, because of his pride in West Virginia.
"I feel like I'm an ambassador to the folks who don't live in our state, and the Greenbrier Classic is an opportunity for us to open up and be like a front porch and welcome folks from all over the world," he said, adding, "I think the Classic helps our state move forward."
His most exciting assignment was working as a standard bearer for golfing legend Tiger Woods, which means walking the entire course with him as Tiger plays, and carrying a scoreboard for fans to see, Strawn said.
"It was just fascinating, you know? You see it on TV, but to be here and see the thousands of people just walk with him on every shot, it was just neat to walk the whole course with him. It was just a lot of fun," he said.
This year's Greenbrier Classic event will run from June 30 to July 6. Anyone interested in getting tickets or volunteering can find more information at www.greenbrierclassic.com/.
Reach Maria Young at maria.yo...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.