2006 Ben Kruse 18 FORE Life Charity Golf Event
The Ben Kruse 18 FORE Life Charity Golf Event held its second banquet on Friday June 23rd at the Elk’s Lodge in Dexter, Missouri. Organizer’s were anxious to see the level of excitement match that of the previous year and were hopeful that 2005 was not a fluke. No one was disappointed as nearly 400 supporter’s were present to enjoy a great meal, hear some inspiring speeches, and celebrate into the night.
The evening began with a remarkable invocation from Vaughn Wright, pastor at First Christian Disciples of Christ Church in Dexter. Following the invocation, the Elk’s served a meal to remember while all of the guests visited and enjoyed fellowship with each other. Many had not seen each other since the event in ’05, and some reunited after years of being apart.
Chairman Scott Kruse began the evening thanking sponsors, volunteers, and golfers while also recognizing Operation Freedom Veterans Ed Gargas and Roger Alsup, Kruses’ uncle. Chris Mofield, who inspired everyone in ’05 with his testimony about his battle with cancer, was recognized. (Chris would lose his long battle with cancer only a week later. His spirit continues to bless our charity and his memorial fund brought in over $4,500.) Thank you’s the charity had received over the past year from love offering recipients were read out loud, showing the audience the motivating force behind 18 FORE Life’s efforts.
Elaine Pursell was then introduced and described by Kruse with words like courageous, graceful, classy, remarkable, and inspiring. She showed everyone that each of those words fit her perfectly with a talk that left everyone laughing, crying, and inspired. Her stories of losing her hair numerous times, followed by disappointing test results and extensive rounds of chemo/radiation tugged at the audience’s emotions. Elaine’s tremendous faith and positive attitude were on display and her family, husband Tony and daughter Ashley, smiled in admiration as their hero spoke.
Next, the crowd was introduced to new SEMO Men’s Basketball Head coach, Scott Edgar. Coach Edgar did an outstanding job of following Elaine by not talking about basketball at, but by talking about the idea of being a giver and not a taker. He gave an emotional speech about courage and strength, even saying he had no idea what it would be like to lose a child. He began and ended his talk by saying that coaching basketball is “easy”! It was a wonderful talk that gave all in attendance reason to believe that SEMO hired more than a basketball coach and has the right man to turn around their basketball program.
The final speaker was Jake Barge, long time friend of Ben Kruse. Jake did a tremendous job telling stories about Ben that many people had never had the chance to hear before. Again, the audience had reason to laugh and to cry in remembering the great guy whose name is on this charity. A toast was made in memory of Ben, and once again, the crowd cheered in a way that would have humbled Ben and made him so proud.
Later in the evening, Candy Coburn opened her set with the title track off of her upcoming album, Rev It Up. Her band was nearly flawless and Candy entertained the crowd once again. Having her entertain is a real thrill for the charity since she fits this event into a busy schedule that includes opening dates for acts like Big and Rich, Brooks and Dunn, Dierks Bentley, and Tracey Lawrence. She is a star in the making and we all wish her the best.
Sittin’ Pretty again performed some old 80’s tunes that everyone was familiar with. The highlight of their set was when Addison Kruse, 6 year old daughter of Scott and Kerri, joined Candy for a duet of Cher’s song, Just Like Jesse James. Candy and Addie both belted out the lyrics and received a big applause in the middle and at the end of the song. All in all, it was another terrific evening of laughter, tears, smiles, hugs, dancing, singing, and celebrating. The event has turned into just what Ben always wanted it to be: a celebration of life and a reunion of great people.