Memorial golf outing for Niles teacher breaks record
Published 9:32 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015
DOWAGIAC — Organizers of the Jason Arnold Memorial Golf Outing say more money was raised during this year’s event than at any other in its six-year history.
Eight-eight golfers teed off Saturday at Spruce Ridge Golf Club in Dowagiac, generating a little more than $3,300 for local scholarships.
“We feel really blessed that the community comes together for this,” said Jeanne Blank, who has been organizing the event with her husband since 2010. The Blanks were neighbors and close friends of Arnold for more than 15 years.
Arnold passed away in January of 2010 from injuries sustained from a fall. He was a 1979 Niles High School graduate and a lifelong resident of Niles.
“It is just heartwarming to know that so many people loved him just as much as we did,” Jeanne said.
Each year, the foundation awards one Niles graduate and one Buchanan graduate with a $1,000 scholarship.
Buchanan graduate Chelsey Bennett and Niles graduate Christopher Ahlgrim were selected to receive the scholarships out of a field of about 30 applicants.
Bennett will attend Western Michigan University, while Ahlgrim will attend the University of Michigan-Flint.
“Being able to see and spend time with so many family members and friends of Jason is what I look forward to and enjoy the most about JAM,” said Lori Vandagriff, Jason’s sister. “It is so touching that my brother is being remembered in a way that promotes what his life was all about — young people and education. Those who give financially every year to make the scholarships possible are doing something that would have made Jason so proud.”
Jim Rose, a former co-worker of Jason, has also played a role in the planning of the event.
Organizers thanked the many businesses and individuals who have contributed year after year with door prizes, auction items, and financial support, as well as the staff at Spruce Ridge.