Published 11:17 pm Sunday, June 27, 2010
Stars and stripes waved at every tee box, every pin and on every golf cart, as the Corey Goodnature Memorial Golf Classic took over Albert Lea golf courses Saturday.
In its fifth year, for the first time, the Golf Classic was played at two courses instead of one, both Green Lea and Wedgewood.
That is no knock to Green Lea, who exclusively hosted the event the past four years, but a testament to the commitment of the scholarship fund’s comitee, whose primary event has grown too large for one golf course.
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Corey died June 28, 2005, when his MH-47D helicopter was shot down by enemy dire during combat. He was assisting Navy SEALs when he was killed.
The Memorial Scholarship Fund in his name gives 12 $1000 scholarships each year to graduating seniors of Albert Lea, Alden-Conger and Glenville-Emmons high schools. To date, the fund has given out $48,000 in scholarship and that number should keep growing based on the Golf Classic’s turnout Saturday.
Close to 230 golfers formed 54 teams in the nine-hole tournament but golf isn’t the main reason they came, or the main money generator.
“It’s not about golf,” Corey’s father, Don Goodnature said. “Golf is just to get people there, to have dinner and participate in the auction.”
Before tee off, opening ceremonies are performed with the American Legion and VFW honor guards and taps is played.
“People want to show their patriotism,” said Goodnature, of the opening ceremony. “We show respect and remember Corey.”
The ceremony also features guest speakers. This year, the late Soldier’s wife, Lori Goodnature Foran spoke along with a friend and former colleague, CW4 Mike Mock, retired pilot of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.
“It’s very emotional,” said Goodnature, of the ceremony. “This year seemed to be more emotional than in the past.”
Goodnature doesn’t know why it was more emotional but perhaps it’s because the ceremony, viewed by hundreds of Corey’s friends and family, is proof his memory is strong.
The Golf Classic has grown each year, and Goodnature had no idea how large the event would become. He attributes the young scholarship’s success to the community.
“It’s from the hard work of the committee members and the generosity of the community,” he said. “The donations of cash and prizes, too.”
Goodnature also credits both golf courses in helping facilitate the event.
“It worked just great,” said Goodnature of the tournament having two locations. “Wedgewood golfers were back in time for events at Green Lea and we haven’t heard any complaints from anybody. Both courses helped get things moving and we attribute a lot of the success to them.”
Corey’s two sons, who were at the Golf Classic two years ago, were unable to make it to the event Saturaday. Brennan Goodnature, his youngest son, is in Italy and Shea Goodnature, 20, is in the Army and currently stationed in Afghanistan.
More information about the Corey Goodnature Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Golf Classic can be found online at http://CoreyGoodnature.com.