Volunteers are the heart of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Every year thousands of dedicated individuals share their passion for helping others by giving their time and talents to the success of the Tournament. What inspires each volunteer is often a unique and moving story.
For Charles Ruma, CEO of Virginia Homes, member at Muirfield Village Golf Club and volunteer at the Memorial since 2005, his philanthropic journey began with a game-changing diagnosis.
“When you’re a 36-year-old seemingly healthy person and you hear the words, ‘You have cancer,’ that’s a curve ball you don’t expect,” says Ruma, now 46.
Not one to sit back and watch as others pursue an end to cancer, Ruma came up with an idea that would meld his passion for home building with his desire to eradicate cancer: Home for Hope.
Virginia Homes, with donations from suppliers, built the first Home for Hope in 2011 in Dublin’s Tartan West development. The home, outfitted with air and water filtration systems meant to reduce contaminants, and other amenities to promote a healthy environment, raised approximately $65,000 at auction for cancer research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center –James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), where Ruma received top-notch care from Kamal Pohar, MD, and the rest of the cancer team. The knowledge Ruma and his colleagues amassed during the building of the first Home for Hope now influences every home the company builds, as they choose products with low volatile organic compounds and other options to reduce exposure to chemicals.
Virginia Homes built a second Home for Hope in Dublin's highly sought-after Wellington Reserve neighborhood. Rather than being sold at auction, this high-end home was sold under contract - a move that helped entice buyers interested in customizing the home to their tastes while increasing the amount of money raised for cutting-edge research at the OSUCCC - James. The home in Wellington Reserve raised $75,000 for The James.
In addition to Home for Hope, Ruma has been a James Foundation Board member since 2013, and a co-chair of The James Ambassador Society. His current volunteer responsibilities at the Memorial Tournament, as the Locker Room Chairman, place him on the front lines with the Tournament’s field of competitors, where he helps to ensure a world-class experience for the golfers and their families.