The Clinton Firefighters Association No. 609 is gearing up for its 20th annual Ben Jess Memorial golf outing Saturday, Aug. 6. The yearly fundraising tournament benefits local students through academic scholarships, and is held in memory of Jess and other fallen firefighters.
Members of No. 609 started the golf tournament in 1991 after Jess was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The goal was to fund a wheelchair ramp, and other items that would provide Jess with mobility in his home. In 1999, Jess died, but the union continued fundraising in his memory.
“It was kind of his wish to keep it going,” Chris Melvin, golf committee chairperson, said. “Now we give (the funds) as scholarships for kids in Clinton.”
High school students who meet certain requirements can apply for the scholarship. The union typically gives out four $500 scholarships each year, but is hoping to increase the amount.
“We’d like to give four $1,000 scholarships because we know college is getting more expensive,” Melvin said.
All funds raised from the event go strictly toward the scholarships, and members of No. 609 are hoping for a good turn out this year. At its peak, the tournament saw 40 teams participate.
The golf outing is a four-person best ball tournament held at Buck’s Barn Golf Resort, and costs $65 per person. It includes 18 holes of golf with a cart, two on-course beverages and a gift bag. Following the tournament, a catered dinner will be held at Legends Sports Bar. After dinner, Tapped Out, a Quad-Cities-based band, will perform at 8 p.m. for participants as well as the general public.
For information on the tournament or hole sponsorships, contact Chris Melvin at 249-4517 or call Central Fire Station at 242-0125.