April 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

I follow the same routine each time I start writing this letter: I look at what was going on last year. Golf, the Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox were all in full swing in May last year with dreams of Cup, Pennants and Championship trophies all dancing in my head.

The Senior PGA tournament in Michigan was unlike anything I’ve experienced in spectator golf. We lived through three seasons in one weekend. But the single thing that I noticed being in the audience were the many volunteers who did such a terrific job of making the event a success. They were sunburned by the fourth day, it had been so hot and sunny. By Saturday, a cold rain and biting wind in the morning, eventually gave way to a sunny and balmy afternoon. Nevertheless, the folks working the event created a great experience for the golfers and spectators.

Not long after that, the Ryder Cup was held at Medinah in Illinois, another occasion that brought amateur golfers out en masse to root on their favorite professionals and the USA Golf team. It was another spectacle that volunteers made into a pageant, where you could just see the months of preparation that went into the organization on the sidelines. Again I was fortunate enough to see it happen up close.

The reason I mention the volunteers is because each year I’m responsible for different events tied into the communities we serve. Each time, I’m struck by the tireless work of volunteers who rally for the cause here in Northwest Indiana. While we are all thankful for the philanthropists who ultimately provide the money to turn dreams into reality, there are many people who are so generous with their time. When I attend one of these events, I see a bunch of people who have spent hours just to make something impossible happen or who want to give back to a school or cause in the best way they know how.

The volunteers are the unsung heroes at these events, not the players or the participants. And you will likely never know their names, because that’s not why they are there. Just like the 300 plus that came out last year to work removing debris from the old Tolleston school building in preparation for the new Boys & Girls Club to be built. I am proud to say that the work is currently being done, and the kids will be playing in their new facility by early this fall.

But we have a number of nice summer months between now and when we move in, so it’s time for golf, fishing with Tom Sourlis (that’s on my bucket list) and the grass and the yard work I have to do each year. But surrounded by family and friends, cleaning the grill seems like a small price for all the planned and unplanned fun we are about to have. Travel safe this Memorial Day weekend and don’t forget the invisible organizers who made these celebrations and events possible in the first place, and the good people who keep things going today.

Bill Masterson Jr.


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