GRANITEVILLE — A prominent local developer and entrepreneur received a big gift Thursday that will keep on giving.
Members of Sage Valley Golf Club donated $160,000 to Megiddo Dream Station in Weldon Wyatt’s honor.
The presentation of an oversized ceremonial check took place during a dinner at Sage Valley.
Wyatt is the founder of Sage Valley, and it also was his idea to start Megiddo, which teaches unemployed and underemployed adults how to become better job candidates and also provides them with other forms of assistance.
Megiddo’s headquarters is in Graniteville, and the sites of its 13 satellite campuses include Aiken, North Augusta, Charleston and Georgia.
There are plans to expand in 2020 to Arizona, New Jersey and the state of Washington, said Megiddo Executive Director Kay Benitez.
The dinner during which Sage Valley member Mark Lampert presented the check to Wyatt was part of the festivities for Sage Valley’s annual member/member golf tournament.
Wyatt turned 80 earlier this year, and Lampert told him that the donation was a belated birthday gift.
Lampert said he and other Sage Valley members wanted to “do something special for Weldon, a guy that has given us Sage Valley."
“To us, Sage Valley is more than a golf course and facilities,” Lampert continued. “It’s family. It’s people we love. It’s home, no matter where you come from.”
For Wyatt, the gift was a surprise. To help keep him from suspecting that something out of the ordinary was going to happen during the dinner, Benitez waited until right before the check presentation to make her appearance.
“I can’t thank you enough,” said an emotional Wyatt, who told Sage Valley’s members that he was trying to “hold it together” following Lampert’s announcement.
Wyatt described the donation as the “ultimate” birthday gift.
He also talked about the reason why Megiddo was established.
Wyatt launched the charitable initiative in 2012.
“It was something that I always had on my heart, to try to help people,” Wyatt said. “But I wanted to help people who wanted to help themselves.”
To make his concept a reality, Wyatt hired Benitez.
“I was looking for a person to run an organization, and I just happened to see in the newspaper this lady that was working at Golden Harvest Food Bank, and she was from Graniteville, South Carolina. I said, ‘That’s the girl,’” Wyatt said. “So I called Kay and then I told Kay my ideas of what I was trying to achieve, and it’s been one of the greatest stories, what she’s done.”
Benitez said Megiddo would use the $160,000 to repair and make improvements to its facilities, which include a new childcare center.
The donation also could provide funding for a computer lab.
“Some of it we will just put in the bank for a rainy day,” Benitez said. “Having that cushion there will be important.”
For more information about Megiddo, visit www.livetheplan.org.