Sunday, November 16, 2014

NTGCSA supports children's hospital

Every year since 1999 I have had the privilege of visiting the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children through my involvement with the North Texas GCSA and the GCSAA. And every year I come away inspired and in awe of the great work that the hospital is doing every day for children with orthopaedic conditions, neurological disorders, and learning disorders.

My involvement has been as an officer and president of the chapter, as the NTGCSA chapter executive and in my current role as GCSAA field staff. During his tenure in Dallas, GCSAA President Keith Ihms, CGCS, was also very involved with getting the chapter committed to the hospital. There are way too many NTGCSA members who have been very instrumental in fostering this great relationship to mention in this blog.
Quinton Johnson (center),
TSRHC Grounds Manager
Kim Howard (left) and Brian Cloud

The hospital is located near the bustling center of downtown Dallas on a beautifully manicured campus. As hospital President Emeritus J.C. Montgomery proudly tells the North Texas members each year, "No patient or family has ever spent a dime at this hospital for any service, ever." It does not charge patients for services, or receive state or federal funding. It relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations, foundations and corporations to continue its mission.

The North Texas GCSA became involved with the TSRHC in the late 90s through the invitation of one of its most respected and founding members: Quinton Johnson. Quinton and Martha Johnson’s granddaughter was treated at the hospital following an accident, and they experienced first-hand the fantastic work being done. Soon after, Quinton became involved as a volunteer and invited the NTGCSA board of directors for a visit and tour of the hospital. He enouraged the chapter to become involved with an idea for the construction of a putting green for the patients to use during their therapy. When Mr. Johnson “encourages” members in North Texas to do anything, it has a way of happening.

During that meeting, we were treated like royalty, and during the tour of the hospital we met some of the children and their families who were being treated. From that afternoon on, the chapter has been committed to supporting the hospital through financial and equipment donations as well as agronomic expertise by its members. It has really been a rewarding relationship for all.

This year, the chapter made a $3500 donation, which extends their cumulative giving total to over $70,000. Shortly after becoming involved, the chapter started hosting an annual education meeting in the auditorium of the hospital each fall. They have brought in many well known turfgrass researchers to provide education and have a great turnout every year. This year was no different, with Beth Guertal, Ph.D., as the featured speaker discussing turf fertility and nutrition.

I am always blown away by the courtesy and hospitality that the TSRHC rolls out every year for the chapter. They treat us like we are the making the most generous donation of the year and we are the most important donors they have. During the year, I will see tv news stories in the DFW area about the Dallas Mavericks or Boone Pickens giving the hospital donations 100x more money than the NTGCSA and marvel at the way they make us feel so special.

Getting involved with a great community program like the TSRHC is easy. I encourage chapters to form relationships like this and show their support in any way they can. I guarantee your members, affiliates and sponsors will be proud of the effort and be rewarded in many ways.

In a future blog post, I look forward to telling you all about the golf programs that the hospital has initiated through the support of the NTGCSA, golf professionals and the USGA. They are one of the leaders in the country in introducing their patients to the game. The program director, Dana Dempsey, will be a part of a panel discussion at the 2015 Conference in San Antonio. I look forward to telling you all about it.