The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
One of the most charitable sports in the professional arena is the Professional Golfer's Association (PGA). Over the years the PGA has taken some flak for the large purses given away at their tournaments.
But, according to PGAtour.com, they have given away over 1.4 billion dollars since 1938 and intend to increase the amount they give.
They sponsor an almost endless list of programs and due to the popularity of golf in the Tiger Woods era they have been able to generate a lot more income and help a lot more charities.
That same spirit of giving came to our area on Saturday, June 6th as 168 golfers played in the 20 annual Alecs J. Kreps Memorial Golf Tournament held at Twin Oaks golf course in Blandinsville. The tournament raises money and each year gives one $1,000.00 scholarship to a graduate from West Prairie High School.
The tournament is run by Steve Kreps who came up with the idea shortly after the funeral for his son Alecs who was tragically killed in an automobile accident at the age of 15.
He and several family members were playing golf and that is when the idea struck him. So for two years the proceeds went to McDonough District Hospital in Macomb and then evolved into the scholarship program that it is today.
To date 18 scholarships have been given to West Prairie graduates.
This year in honor of the 20th anniversary of the event, a pig roast was held on Friday before the tournament and all the scholarship winners were invited back.
Six of them showed up and were recognized at the event.
The tournament is going strong and in years past has broken the 200 count in golfers.
Tournament organizers have had to limit the number of entrants in order to complete in one day.
The community is involved as well; nearly every merchant in the area donated items to be bid on during the silent auction that accompanies the golf outing each year and helps to subsidize the scholarships.
According to one organizer who wished to remain anonymous, "It (all the donations) really makes it a community wide effort and makes all of us proud to live here."
It may not raise a billion dollars for our local kids, but in this fluctuating economy every little bit helps.
So, the next time you drive by Twin Oaks or West Prairie say a little prayer for the Kreps family and their loss and don't forget to mark your calendars for the first Saturday in June, 2010 for the 21st annual Alecs J. Kreps Memorial Golf Tournament.