Tournament aims to ‘remember and not forget’

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Corey Goodnature event Saturday at Green Lea

By Ayanna Eckblad

With Memorial Day recently passed and the Fourth of July on the horizon, many people take time out of their summer to remember the men and women who fight for our country. For some, this means remembering those who heroically gave their life while serving.

This Saturday, Don and Deb Goodnature will host the 18th annual Corey Goodnature Memorial Scholarship Golf Classic, an event created to honor the life of their son, Corey Goodnature.

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Chief Warrant Officer Three Corey Goodnature, a pilot for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, was the first Minnesotan to die in Afghanistan. While responding to a call to rescue Navy SEALS in 2005, Corey’s helicopter was shot down, killing him, the aircrew on the helicopter and all but one of the SEALS the team was trying to rescue, according to the Corey Goodnature website and past Tribune articles.

This was devastating for those who loved Corey, including his parents, Don and Deb Goodnature; his wife, Lori, and two sons, Brennan and Shea.

“As a parent, when you lose a son or daughter … at a younger age, one of the biggest things you think of is … [people] will forget about them and not talk about them,” Don Goodnature said.

For him and his wife, the golf event is a chance to get together with family and friends and talk about Corey and what he meant to them. For them it is a way to “remember and not forget.”

The family started the Corey Goodnature Memorial Scholarship Golf Classic to raise money for scholarships they give to area high school students. Throughout the 18 years the event has run, the Goodnatures have given a little under $500,000 to high schoolers in the Albert Lea, Glenville-Emmons and Alden-Conger school districts.

According to Don, because so much money has been raised, the family will soon begin exploring other charitable causes to donate to in addition to the scholarships.

“The community’s been wonderful,” Don said. “We’ve had great support from individuals and businesses in the community. That’s why we’ve been able to give out so many scholarships.”

The Corey Goodnature Memorial Scholarship Golf Classic will be held on Saturday at Green Lea Golf Course. The opening ceremony will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will feature the local Honor Guard, two bagpipe players and a drummer from St. Paul. Following the opening ceremony, there will be a friendly nine-hole golf tournament.

After the game there will be a pork chop meal. The cost of the meal is $10 and everyone is invited regardless of if they played golf or not. There will also be a silent and live auction with items such as Vikings and NASCAR tickets, a signed Minnesota Wild Jersey and more. Everyone is invited to participate in the auction as well and stay for live music.

“We’d like to have lots of people out there. It’s nice to see a big crowd,” Don said.

Additionally, recipients of the Corey Goodnature Memorial Scholarships will talk about what the scholarship means to them and what schools they plan to attend.

“Remember and not forget,” is a saying the Goodnature family tries to live by in their son’s honor.

“It’s been just about 20 years, and it seems like it was just yesterday, it’s still hard to talk about,” Don said. He also said because next year will be the 20 year anniversary of Corey’s death, the family plans to hold a special celebration.