Fundraiser this weekend to benefit Billy Khourie

A golf tournament and banquet Saturday will memorialize a former University of Oklahoma student and benefit a scholarship named in his honor.

Events in A Servant’s Heart Weekend are in memory of William “Billy” Khourie II. The 22-year-old died Jan. 6 from a head injury he sustained while snowboarding in Breckenridge, Colo. An honors student majoring in energy management, he was set to graduate in spring 2010.

Khourie’s friends organized the event to honor him, said Pope Van Cleef, co-president of the Billy Khourie Memorial Fund.

“Initially it was intended to be a small friends and family golf tournament and dinner at Seven47,” said Van Cleef, an entrepreneurship senior at OU who roomed with Khourie for two years and counted him one of his best friends. But as he began planning the event, it grew in size and scope.

“We realized how much support there was for what we were doing,” Van Cleef said. “And that’s a testament to Billy.”

The golf tournament Saturday is sold out, with 40 teams of 4 signed up. There are still spots available at the banquet 7:30 Saturday evening at Seven47 on Campus Corner, but Van Cleef said they are expecting 400-500 people. Khourie’s family members from around the country will be in town for the event.

The character of Khourie himself is what has caused the outpouring of support for the event, Van Cleef said.

“Billy was just a special special guy and everybody really really loved him,” Van Cleef said.

Brian Bogert, the owner of Seven47, also is helping organize A Servant’s Heart Weekend.

“Billy was a good friend of mine and he was an employee of mine for three years,” Bogert said. He said Khourie was “such a great kid,” with a friendly personality and an infectious smile.

“We wanted to do something here to really celebrate Billy and commemorate his life,” Bogert said.

The golf tournament and banquet — with its silent and live auctions — will benefit two causes, Van Cleef said. Half of the proceeds will go to a scholarship to OU named in Khourie’s honor. The other half will go to the Oklahoma Chapter of the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association. The chapter was especially important to Billy as his younger sister, Lauren, was born with the complex and rare genetic disorder that affects appetite, growth, metabolism, cognitive function and behavior.

For more information, visit Tickets for the banquet Saturday may be purchased at that Web site or at the door. Donations to the Billy Khourie Memorial Fund may also be made at that Web site.

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