2017 Ben Kruse 18 FORE Life Charity Golf Event
Merrill Hoge, former Pittsburgh Steeler standout and ESPN Football Analyst, was the keynote speaker. He did an amazing job of relating his story and message to all ages. He told of his desire to be successful, a flame that was lit by putting messages on his cork board in his room. The late draft pick out worked people to not only make the team, but lead the team. The adversity that he faced on the field proved to be nothing when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Facing some of the most aggressive chemo side effects, he pushed through and in his words, “Found A Way”. He had used this phrase with his kids in the past, and now they were encouraging, or challenging, him to do the same through the fight of his life. He touched the emotions of everyone in the room and was given a standing ovation following his testimony.
Dexter’s own Marty Poetz spoke as a cancer fighter and love offering recipient this year. His passion, love of family and this life, and sense of humor inspired everyone and surprised no one. His intensity and repeated call for living a life full of humor and laughter kept everyone on the edge of their seats and laughing at the same time. His testimony was full of humility, courage, strength, faith and family tales as he even shared a possible diagnosis which was to be looked at further in the near future. Mr. Poetz ended his speech in typical, high level passion as he yelled FIRE UP BEARCATS!!! He too received a standing ovation.
Eric White shared a couple of hilarious tales about his dear friend Ben Kruse. White was flawless in his delivery and mixed in humor with a brother like admiration for Ben. I can tell you, this feeling was mutual as my brother always respected and loved Eric White. The night was kicked off in perfect fashion and only seemed to get better.
A tribute to Gary Rhine added to the night. Gary was our auctioneer for many years, helping raise upwards of $50,000.00 for the charity. His passion and love of this life was apparent and he was missed. Barry Aycock and AgXplore gave a $20,000.00 donation in his honor. Jimmy Miles, Gary’s long time friend, gave a Charlie Daniels signed guitar to the family and the charity donated a beautiful print of Gary. The family, a group of people Gary was crazy about and did anything for, were there to accept and enjoy the moment. No LIVE auction this year. Not without our auctioneer. A Silent Auction added to fitting and well deserved tribute.
The party went into the midnight hour before everyone made their way home to prepare for golf the next day.
The golf weather was perfect. The tournament has never run any smoother. The golfers were so fun and calm, almost to perfection. The course was beautiful and the golf was as much fun as ever, allowing all golfers to finish in plenty of time.
What a great event!