2007 Ben Kruse 18 FORE Life Charity Golf Event

Our group of volunteers couldn’t have been happier with the turnout and atmosphere in just our 3rd year of the Friday night banquet held on June 29th at the Elk’s Lodge in Dexter, Missouri. After hovering just over 400 guests in our first two years, a big goal of ours was to fill up the Elk’s and reach maximum capacity. Needless to say, our goal was met and we packed in 450 people to share a great night of food, drink, laughter, inspiration, and emotion.

Once again Vaughn Wright, pastor at The First Christian Church Disciples of Christ, gave a terrific invocation before dinner. The food and service at the Elk’s was first class. One thing Ben always enjoyed was seeing people and catching up with them. This spirit is what makes Friday night something special. The fellowship in the room is one of the things this organization was founded on and the reunion of so many relationships makes for a great time for everyone present.

Chairman Scott Kruse began the evening thanking everyone for attending. Kruse thanked the Elk’s, the Wright family, Elaine Pursell (last year’s guest speaker), as well as the large number of golfers, volunteers, and sponsors. New Wave Communications was singled out for their large donation and sponsorship of the banquet. Also mentioned were several ways the charity had grown over the past year. Those have included:

  1. More Memorial funds than ever before
  2. More Personal Donations than ever before
  3. Scott Dismuke, former Dexter resident, running in a ½ marathon and raising money for 18 FORE Life
  4. Beta Sigma sorority hosting a fundraiser on the course
  5. Josh Rodgers finding a way to get golf trailers donated
  6. Peggy Rodgers once again creating her quilt
  7. David and Mary Eadon Robinson coming all the way from Atlanta, GA to be apart of their first event and help out with some video production
  8. Robert Shell helping get a golf cart to be raffled off as a fundraiser
  9. Rock n Ride: Scott Blankenship and Co. tribute to Scott’s brother, Rick, which raised money for 18 FORE Life and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  10. Ten Pins For Ben: Inaugural bowling tournament raising $10,000 for St. Jude

Next, Jeanetta Stearns was introduced. She told her story of finding out she had cancer at the young age of 26. Her story of leaning on family and friends to get through tough times was powerful. Jeanetta spoke openly about the fears she faced, including losing her hair to being uncertain about her future. Like all cancer fighters, she showed that she is a hero full of courage, hope, and an appreciation of life.

Coach Dave Porter was our next speaker. Coach didn’t talk about the trips to the Final Four or the large number of wins he has accumulated coaching high school basketball. He had a more important story to share. The story of Jason Strubel, a young man Porter coached who lost a battle with testicular cancer. This courageous young man over achieved as a basketball player and was passionate about his life making a difference. His hope was to save just one life by asking his family and friends to get the word out about self examination and early detection. With the help of folks like Coach Porter, videos have been sent out to high schools in all 50 states and 18 lives have been saved to date. Jason Strubel’s life proved to have tremendous meaning and Coach Porter made a huge impact on all 450 guests.

Amy Christian gave a tribute to Ben and a video tribute was shown as John Steward and Scott Porter played an acoustical version of Running Through The Fields by Sister Hazel. The BUZZ performed several covers by Counting Crows, Howie Day, Poison, Matchbox 20, The Goo Goo Dolls, and the Plain White T’s. Addie Kruse jumped up on stage to perform two songs which proved to be the show stopper! Candy Coburn and her band ended the night with a terrific set full of new songs never before performed to her hometown crowd. This night left us all looking forward to next June, when we will once again reunite to Celebrate, Give, and Remember.

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