O’Donnell & Friends Open
This was the 20th year for the O’Donnell family to host their annual golf outing at our course. Their golf outing is cleverly called O’Donnell and Friends Open. What started out as a small family gathering has turned into a huge charity drive every year. The O’Donnells consist of Dan & Dee O’Donnell, their 10 children, spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It’s definitely a family affair. The day before their golf outing, the family came out to place a memorial bench in Dan O’Donnell, Sr.’s honor. Dan had passed away from a long battle with cancer last November. This would be their first time running the golf outing without him.
It was a picture perfect morning.
They have hundreds of sponsors who help to make their event successful. Every year a new charity is selected. This year’s charity was the Hospice of Central Iowa. It is where Dan spent his final days and the family was so thankful for all that was done for them.
One person places the pin prizes.
Another person sets up the silent auction items on the holes. Auction items are throughout the course under tents with the item up for auction on display. As you can see, several of the family members work for the Des Moines Police department, so they get to use the DMPS golf car. We don’t kid around on this day when we say there is a marshal on the course.
More people take all of the sponsor signs out on the course.
They are a woodworking family, so they have created a display case that shows the 20 year history of the their tournament. It started as a family reunion. The following year, they raised money for the Lincoln High School cheerleading squad. They raised $1,500. Most importantly, they were bitten by the fundraising bug!
They do this because they have a youth organization that brings the bags of the golfers to their respective carts. The selected youth organization receives donated money for their assistance with the morning bag duties. This year, they had the Valley cheerleading squad as helpers.
The girls put the name of the golfer on the bag and then carry the heavy bag to the carts. It’s easier for the girls when they know the carts are in numerical order. It’s always fun to watch because I think sometimes the guys feel sorry for those poor girls who carry sometimes very heavy bags. They usually pitch in the help!
Like clockwork, everyone is ready at their designated 8 a.m. start time. Jim always takes the microphone to greet the golfers. He explains how they are to “tell” on each other as there are awards for non-golfer behavior.
First place winners cannot win two years in a row, however, first place receive trophies, too. In fact, this year the foursome that won it, also won it last year. Jim simply said, “Good score, but we’re going to award the team that came in second.”
Once Jim is done talking, I usually take over. As promised, however, this was a new year. Without Dan there to help, the oldest grandkids got their turn at the microphone. Here is Mike O’Donnell who is the oldest grandson of Dan and Dee and Dennis’ son.
Followed up by, Mindy O’Donnell who is the oldest granddaughter of Dan and Dee as well as Jim’s oldest daughter.
At the end of the day, they were able to raise $91,260 for the Hospice of Iowa/Kavanagh House here in Des Moines. What an accomplishment to an amazing family! Over the twenty years, they have been able to donate almost $800,000 for local charities.
How about you? Does your family put together a charity drive? Ever play in the O’Donnell Open? It is held every year on the last Friday of June.