Report by Kenneth J. Kerr (EsterhazyOnline)
Golf pictures by Niki Rink (North Valley Credit Union)
The 17th Annual Esterhazy & District Charity Golf Classic took place at Esterhazy golf course on Monday, September 11. Unlike last year, the weather accompanying the event was perfect, and this surely added to the spirit of the occasion, where fun, friendship, and the fellowship of kindred spirits united in a common cause, reigned supreme.
In the evening, the golfers and guests gathered at the Boreen hall to enjoy the supper, once more prepared by Esterhazy Bowlarena and catering. The food was superb, and everyone anticipated the upcoming announcement to see how much had been raised this year towards the hospital/care home project.
The master of ceremonies this year was Chris Miller, owner of Noble Construction, and the first speaker he introduced was Warren Kaeding, MLA for Melville-Saltcoats. Here’s what Warren had to say…
“On behalf of the Provincial Government, and soon to be retired Premier Brad Wall, I’d like to bring congratulations on another successful Charity Golf Classic. Anything that survives more than 17 years is really quite an accomplishment. And, I’d like to personally thank my friend Don Hood for his unwavering dedication for seeing this project come to light, and seeing it through to where you’re at right now. We’ve had a number of conversations, discussions, and meetings, dedicated to seeing this project coming to a conclusion, and we aren’t there yet, but I honestly believe that we’re getting closer.
I’d also like to thank the committee and members of the Esterhazy Health Foundation. The contributions that you’re making to the community, and the surrounding area, has not gone unnoticed. And thank you very much to the doctors and the healthcare professionals that we have in this community. And thanks for calling Esterhazy home for you and your families. We acknowledge that you have so many different places to go, and we appreciate you choosing Esterhazy in which to work and raise your family. And thank you for your long hours and dedication that you’re putting into your work. We know it would be easier in larger communities, so thank you very much for choosing Esterhazy as your workplace.
And thank you to the many sponsors who have continued over 17 years to participate in this annual event. It’s your long-term dedication to this project and community that’s recognized and greatly appreciated. We recognize that not many of you have a personal interest in seeing this project moving forward, which makes your dedication and commitment really mean that much more. And finally, thank you to you, the residents of Esterhazy and the area. We know your patience is being tested, and thank you for continuing to believe in the value of what this facility is going to mean to you, and to your families in the years to come. I hope you had a fun day, and that you’re going to continue to stay enthused and motivated, and continue to work towards the new facility.“
Next to the podium was Don Hood, chair of the Esterhazy and District Classic Golf Committee. Don said this…
“Good evening everyone, and Chris thank you. Another great fundraising day, another great day, and when you compare it to last year boy this was a beauty. And a big thank you to everyone who contributed to the fundraising and to the dinner tonight. The Charity Golf is the major fundraiser for the new hospital and care home. This is critical to our success. And, when I speak about community, I’m not talking about Esterhazy, I’m talking about the area that uses our facility, be it the hospital or the care home, or the doctors. That’s the community.
So, we’re focused on raising our 20% share, for without the 20% share, as Ken Kerr put it, you don’t get in on the dance floor. So, we need that 20%. That 20% we believe is about $11 million, and we have a number of engineers here tonight, so you have this book with an estimate done in 2011, and we’re escalating that to say here’s our number. And you know that can have some flaws in it. But we think $11 million is not bad, so we’re sitting at $9 million, so we’re doing well, and getting close. But we need the extra $2 million. We need that to go to the Government and say, you know guys we’re ready to build, we’re patient, but we’ve been at this since 2009.
Now, the Charity Golf’s been going for 17 years, and in 2009 we started to set aside money for this hospital and care home. So, this Charity Golf is absolutely critical to us getting this next $2 million. And we appreciate your support and your help in making it happen. Now, rural Saskatchewan, if you went to any other community and said, guys we’d like to raise $11 million, there isn’t another community our size that could even come close. So we have a lot of dedication here to make it happen, and we really very much appreciate it, and need it. It’s important for our doctors to have a facility that they are happy to work in. We have a nice medical clinic, but the hospital is very poor. And the quality of the care home is actually worse than the hospital. So, we need this. We’re going to get our 20%, and we’re going to go to the Government and say, guys, we want it to happen and we need it to happen. And, we’ll call it gentle pressure. Thank you.”
The gathering also heard from one of the doctors, Dr. Peter Botha, who had this to say…
“At the moment, we are six doctors working in our clinic. Dr. Nel, Dr. Fajimi, Dr. Rohani, then we have Dr. Viljoen who works here once a month for a week, and our newest acquisition Dr. Hamm. We also have Dr. Van Eeden who works in Langenburg, but who does after-hours calls here. And I don’t speak for myself alone when I say, I find myself fortunate to work in a community like Esterhazy. The warmth and the gratitude of the patients are second to none. However, we do have an aged and rapidly-aging hospital, and for this reason, we are here tonight. We as a clinic would love to care for our patients in a new and improved hospital, a hospital that we as doctors can be proud of, and a hospital where our patients can receive the care and facilities that they deserve.
The proposed plans are for a hospital/care home combination. This will make care, which includes X-ray and lab exams, accessible for our care home residents in times of acute illness, without the need for them to travel to our local emergency facility. This might also mean that they will be able to receive the care that they need out of the comfort of their own beds. I believe that a new facility can help with recruitment and retention of new doctors to rural Saskatchewan. A newer hospital is more attractive than an old one. We have loads of new, locally trained doctors who come out of the system yearly, and we need something to pull them towards our lovely community. I feel that a hospital is just the thing that we need. At the moment, we’re unsure of the specific timeline for our hospital and care home, but I ask you to not lose heart in generating funds for this purpose. Thank you very much.“
Emcee Chris Miller then said, “We golfed, we ate, we shared time with a few hundred great people, we know and understand the importance of giving. We masquerade our day as a golf tournament, and our evening as a supper, but it’s truly a day to celebrate the spirit and generosity of giving. The fundraising is only possible through generosity, and we’re blessed to have that on so many levels here.“
Chris then made reference to the brochures available to every attendee, suggesting that each person take time to read the list of sponsors at every level of contribution. Volunteering groups, and individual volunteers were also then recognized. Appreciation was given for the golfers, and for their hard work in reaching out to the community to support their participation in the event. The top individual fundraisers were also recognized.
It was then time for the big announcement, the moment everyone had been waiting for. Chris said, “We have heard tonight the words of our doctors, community leaders, community members, and our politicians. They have all said that there’s a need for what we are doing, we need to stay on task and keep driving away at this… We’ve all persevered, and we will persist. We will one day have a new hospital… So it is time to announce this year’s total.” He then instructed individuals and tables to make a drumroll… Then he said, “That’s how you harness the power of a team, that’s how you send a message, and that’s how you raise $207,000 this year. Thank you guys, you’re all awesome.“
Below is a gallery of more than 130 pictures taken during the day. Click on any image to open the viewer and then proceed through them.