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Golfers raise money for local programs

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:34PM November 9th, 2017
GUACP0481.3

Northwest Guardian

Jeff Parker picks up his ball from a puddle forming on the first green of Eagles Pride Golf Course during the 17th annual Turkey Shoot golf tournament Nov. 3.

The 17th annual Turkey Shoot charity golf tournament Nov. 3 at Eagles Pride Golf Course drew more than 170 golfers and raised $70,000 for JBLM Santa’s Castle, the JBLM Holiday Assistance Program and the Madigan Foundation.

Additionally, Ken Leonard, president and chief executive officer for America’s Credit Union, got his weather wish; it was snowing. A mixture of active duty service members, retirees and civilians braved the weather to raise money for three charities on JBLM.

Although it wasn’t for an extended period of time, the snow fell in between sprinkles of cold rain — not the most ideal conditions for 18 holes of golf.

“(We) feel a little bit of pain in remembrance of what these men and women do for our country,” Leonard said.

Last year, the event raised a total of $36,000 to be donated to three JBLM groups with a field of about 140 golfers. Leonard said he’s hoping to donate an equal share of the money to the three groups in time for the holidays.

“We want to sacrifice to give back to those who fight for our country,” Leonard said. “This is our way to say ‘thank you’ and to let them know that at home, we have their back.”

All of the golfers knew what they were getting into in terms of the actual play. Final scores didn’t necessarily matter that much in the four-person scramble format. Players already had to change their approach to the game due to the weather, like having to play two or three clubs higher than normal.

“You’re not going to get the rolls on the green, and the ball is not going to compress as much,” said Tracy Spencer, a retired Army lieutenant colonel. “You would use a 5-iron where you would normally use a 7-iron.”

It’s rare for a tournament to be held when snow and colder temperatures are expected, according to JBLM golf director Jeff Clark.

“This event sells out every year,” he said. “From our perspective, this is huge.”

“It means a world of difference to help service members this time of year,” Leonard said.

Dean Siemon: 253-477-0235, @deansiemon