Tee It Up for the Troops 2017
by Chelsea Cliff
September 1, 2017
The Patriotic Parachute team landing for the opening ceremony. Photo Credit: Mike Pruett
Last week, on August 24, 2017, Tee It Up for the Troops held it’s 11th annual event in Rochester, MN. Lynn Clarey, Vice President of Business Development at Sterling State Bank heads up the planning committee for this great event. I sat down with him to discuss this year’s event and his involvement.
CC: Tee It Up for the Troops has been going on in Rochester for 11 years now, have you been involved with the event from the start?
LC: Yes, since the start. The first one was in Mendakota, MN. Bob Dunham, of Rochester read about it in the Star Tribune and contacted me about starting one here. The Rochester event is the second location of this event, and today there are approximately 58 locations nationally that hold a Tee It Up for the Troops event.
CC: What is the hardest part of the event to plan?
LC: In the earlier years of planning it was getting enough golfers, corporate sponsors but now that we have a process in place, it goes pretty smoothly.
CC: How far in advance do you start working on this event? How many people are part of the planning committee?
LC: Year-round we are thinking of new ideas and our first committee meeting is generally in March. There are 10 people on the committee. I contact the major sponsors in January and usually have those set up prior to our first meeting.
CC: Who sets up all of those flags lining the golf course, how many are displayed?
LC: There are 600 flags and we have volunteers from Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge Rochester take them out of storage, put them on the poles, then hand roll them for transportation. Then kids from Mayo, John Marshall, Lourdes, and Century all work together to get them set up. The Carpenters Union and Pipefitters Union also helped place flags this year. We started this 3 years ago after I heard about the Field of Flags in Pine Island. Seeing all those flags was amazing and it got me thinking, why don’t we have that at Tee It Up for the Troops.
CC: How many people typically attend the opening ceremony?
LC: There are 144 golfers, 36 soldiers, about 100 volunteers, and another 200 from the public I would estimate. Anywhere from 400 - 500 people overall, I would say.
CC: What is something most people may not know or realize about this event?
LC: Half of the money raised stays in our community and the other half is used nationally.
CC: What is your most memorable moment at Tee It Up for the Troops?
LC: Seeing the pride in everyone’s faces and seeing the Gold Star families being honored. Meeting this year’s Medal of Honor recipients and seeing the Patriot Parachute Team land at our event was also really memorable.
CC: Why is this cause so important to you?
LC: I think we need to respect, support, and honor our troops and that’s why it’s important to me.
CC: When does this event usually sell out by, how far in advance?
LC: By the end of January [7 months in advance].
CC: What are a few of the different things you have added to the Rochester event to make it unique? What special guests and events?
LC: Over the years we’ve had Black Hawks land, fly overs, four T-6’s making formations, the Patriot Parachute Team, and Medal of Honor guests.
CC: What are your hopes for next year?
LC: I always pray for good weather.
CC: How can others in our community help this organization and event?
LC: By donating to Tee It Up for the Troops and coming out to the event to support the gold star families at our opening ceremony. Our committee works hard to make this a community event.
CC: Thank you, Lynn, for all that you do to make this event a success. It was my first year attending the opening ceremony and wow – was it awesome to see! It was an honor to attend and give recognition to all that we have to be thankful for because of our troops. I reflected on this statement that I observed on the side of an army tank, “All gave some, some gave all” at the opening ceremony. What a powerful reminder of the sacrifices many have made. Our community is stronger because of the support this event can help provide, so again thank you!
Snapshots of the day are shown below, check out even more great photos here.
Photo Credit: Mike Pruett
Top left photo: Opening Ceremony, Top right photo: Medal of Honor recipients Kenneth Stumpf and James McCloughan.
Second left photo: The fallen soldiers. Second right photo: The course lined with American flags.
Third left photo: A view from behind the flags. Third right photo: The National Anthem was sung.
Fourth left photo: Pastor Schauder gave the opening prayer. Fourth right photo: From the left - Tim Wegscheid, National President of Tee it up for the Troops, Kenneth Stumpf, James McCloughan, and Lynn Clarey are pictured.