Flying golf balls kick off event

Courtesy of Reiley Waldo

Not only was Flight for Life the beneficiary of the Columbine Duet Classic golf tournament, it helped get the day off to a festive start Thursday with an 800-ball drop that raised $3,200.

For 19 years, the women golfers from the Glacier Club and Dalton Ranch Golf Club have come together to use their beloved game to raise money for local causes.

Called the Columbine Classic Duet, the event was inspired by the women golfers of Farmington, who put together a two-day event at the San Juan and Piñon Hills golf courses. Here, of course, the ladies played two of the most beautiful courses anywhere, Glacier Club on Wednesday before finishing off with 18 holes at Dalton Ranch on Thursday.

This year, the cause was Flight for Life, and a crew was on hand to start the fun Thursday with a ball drop – 800 balls, to be exact. Prizes went to the 20 balls that ended up closest to the hole. In this case, seven balls actually went in the hole – something that would be tough to do on purpose – and the top prize, golf and lodging at the Ventana Resort in Tucson, Ariz., went to Pat Perry. Other winners received prizes ranging from jewelry and pottery to lots of golf and golf paraphernalia.

An event like this requires a lot of work and coordination. Glacier Club co-chairwomen were Dolly Turner (who’s been involved with all 19 Columbine Classics) and Teresa Price. Dalton’s co-chairwomen were Sandy Elliott, Diane Curtis and Amy Brunvand. Committee members included Cindy Bryniarski, Jacqui Van Lunsen, Gail Aalund, Mary Poillion, Carol Riggs, Sandy Blaisdell (whose long commitment as a chairwoman in previous years was appreciated by Brunvand, who said she would have sent Blaisdell flowers if she’d known what it took) and Cathy Gaskell.

The event works only if the two golf clubs’ professionals get into the act, too, and once again, both clubs can be proud of their efforts. Patric Flynn, Joe Kamby and Lucas Butler (no relation, as far as I know) from the Glacier Club, and Fal Woods, the golf professional at Dalton Ranch, kept that part of the two days running smoothly.

There were four flights, based on handicaps. I tried to describe handicaps in a column about this event last year and wrote myself into a hole (and not a hole-in-one, an abyss!). But low handicaps means outstanding players, and the first flight, with the lowest-handicapped players, boasted a winning team that blew away the competition with a two-day score of 177.7. Going home with bragging rights were Brooke Raney, Erika Estes, Jo Garrison and Kyra Garrison.

I had the opportunity to sit with some of the Flight for Life folks at lunch Thursday – where Columbine Classic organizers presented them with a check for $15,500 – and learned more about what they do, from picking up seriously injured people at accidents to staging rescuers and canines in the event of an avalanche, and picking up lost hikers after search and rescue calls them in. They average 30 calls a month.

Stacy Meredith, clinical coordinator for the Durango base, shared an eloquent example of what they do, and where the money raised would go. She talked about a man having a massive heart attack in Silverton at 3:45 a.m. Within five minutes, night-vision goggles on, the pilot, nurse and paramedic were en route, meeting the Silverton ambulance at Durango Mountain Resort. Within 50 minutes from the initial call, the man, 45, was in the cardiac-catheter unit at Mercy Regional Medical Center, having blood vessels opened. Just 20 minutes after arrival, he was doing fine.

The Flight for Life base here (there are others around Colorado) will use the money to purchase equipment to make transferring critical patients from the helicopter to the airplane a smoother, less stressful move.

Also attending the luncheon were helicopter pilot Todd Rossignol, registered nurse Laura Harwood (they ate fast because they were on call). Medic Jud Miller and fixed-wing pilot Les Swientek left earlier after Swientek served as supervisor on the hole where a hole-in-one would have brought the fortunate golfer a check for $10,000 from Nick and Dolly Turner. They have been offering the prize since the event began and have said they sure would like to write that check. Alas, that was not meant to be this year, either.

Maybe for the 20th?

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Happy Cancer birthday greetings go out to Matt Redbear, Hamilton Wright, Meme Eberspacher, Elizabeth LaFortune, Ann Tidwell, John Gardella, Ben Bader, Frank Campana, Katie McElwain, Caleb Ontiveros, Will Jernigan, Mack Otter, Logan Cole, Ed Williams, Charlotte Wright, Aaron Cash, Annette Fusco, Kari Bjorlin, R.L. Hawks, John Hess, Courtney Wolf, Wilma Cobb, Linda Buehler, June Hahl, Suzi Gottlieb, Sarah Griffith, Linda Wynck, Jack Dignum, Dave Freeman, Suzanne Rodman, Danial Ciluffo, Mike Hjermstad, Jim May, Stephen Bowles, Liam Lacey, Peter Kondrat, Stephen Moore, Ormond Morford, Daniel McCoy and Jeanine Puskas.

Belated greetings to Jim Haug.

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I’ve let too many columns go by without mentioning what went on at the Allison-Tiffany Cemetery on Memorial Day. The far southeastern corner of the county is a thriving community all its own, and residents there often come together for important occasions.

The Durango Acapella Quartet performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” while Jimmy Sutton and Lynn Swanemyr raised that banner high. The quartet provided other music during the program.

Carl Hanson opened and closed the gathering with a prayer as well as offering a Memorial Day message. While Vickie Sutton talked about the first American flag and the meanings of the red, white and blue, Kendrick and Tyce Nossaman and James Mars released balloons in the corresponding colors. After Sutton shared some background on “America the Beautiful,” everyone sang the song, accompanied by Dusty Mars on guitar.

Tyller Gummersall brought that relatively new favorite “Proud to be an American” to life with his guitar, with a sing-along on the chorus before Mars closed the program with “Taps” on his violin. (Did I mention that they’re a musical bunch out there?)

Thanks to Emma Shock for serving as my correspondent in that part of La Plata County. In the days of snail mail and bad roads, women around the county sent in a letter once a week to the Herald about the doings where they lived, be it Hesperus, Marvel, Bayfield or Tiffany, so Shock is following a time-honored tradition.

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The cornucopia of June anniversaries continue with Amos and Julie Cordova, Art and Donna Chase, Al and Betty Calkins, Richard and Eileen Kippen, Harold and Cathy Black, Roger and Marilyn Folk, Bob and Nancy Dolphin, Wesley and Pat May, Brett and Holly Englund, Byard and Nancy Peake and John and Christine Priaulx.

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Believe it or not, Miss Technophobe here has entered the Twitterverse. Yep, if you are so inclined, please follow me @Ann_Neighbors at www.twitter.com. I will not become a Twitterholic, I swear!

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neighbors@durangoherald.com

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