Steve Young hosts charity golf match in Heber
June 28, 2013
When NFL legend Steve Young heard of Sophie Barton’s death at a girls’ camp in Heber in 2010, he knew something had to be done to preserve the young singer/songwriter’s legacy.
Enter Sophie’s Place, a branch of the Forever Young Foundation. Because Barton used to play music in children’s hospitals to help brighten the children’s days, Young and his foundation decided that naming one of its music therapy centers in children’s hospitals would be a great way to honor her memory.
"(Her death) was just tragic," Young said at his charity golf tournament at Red Ledges Golf Club in Heber on Thursday. "She was a volunteer at the hospital, 17 years old, singer/songwriter, very established, wonderful person and (the Barton family is) dear friends of our family."
Sophie’s Place, at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, opened Friday.
"We just thought, ‘Well, let’s name it after Sophie,’" Young said. "And it has been magic since that day."
He added that music therapy has been shown to have major healing powers.
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"Doctors are writing prescriptions every day for music therapy because of what it’s doing scientifically to people," he said. "Music can create neural pathways in the brain like literally create them like nothing else can. It’s crazy stuff in the brain."
But opening therapy facilities isn’t cheap, so Young’s foundation needed some money to help allay the costs.
Enter Red Ledges, the picturesque golf course tucked away in the Heber Valley.
"This is always a great event," said Mitchell Burns, the chief operating officer for Red Ledges. "We are a private club, so we don’t do a lot of outside events. But when Steve Young came to us needing a place to do a tournament, we said, ‘Yes, we’d love to open the doors for you.’"
So, along with friends like golf legend and broadcaster Johnny Miller, current NFL quarterback John Beck and other athletes and celebrities, Young hosted the charity tournament on Thursday morning.
Young said he couldn’t be happier that Red Ledges let the foundation host its tournament in Heber.
"They allow us to come up here to a resort we don’t deserve," he said. "It makes us look like kings, and we need that. We’re a lean, mean, fighting-machine charity and what we do, we do not with a lot of people, but a lot of hard work and effort from three people that run it. So we’re happy we don’t fund anything if we don’t hold these tournaments."
Miller, who lives in Heber and loves coming to Young’s tournament, thinks his friend is being a bit modest when it comes to the accomplishments of the Forever Young Foundation.
"He says it’s a little boutique foundation," he said. "Well, maybe compared to the Red Cross it is. It’s really pretty big."
The Forever Young Foundation had a total income of nearly $3 million last year, and raised $1 million from four events, including $255,000 from the 2012 charity golf tournament at Red Ledges.
Miller added that he always jumps at the chance to support Young and hasn’t missed many of the foundation’s charity tournaments.
"Steve’s a good friend of mine," he said. "I like supporting the Forever Young Foundation."
All in all, Miller said, getting out on the course to support a good charity makes for a good day.
"It’s a tough course, but it’s a good training course," he said. "It’s just a nice place to come play."
Burns said the club loves hosting the event and the doors of Red Ledges are always open for the Forever Young Foundation.
"We hope to have them back as many years as they would like to come," he said.