MARSHALL - Blue shirts and birdies were abundant Monday at Marshall Golf Club as friends, family and community members hit the links for the Birdies to Benefit Ollie scramble golf tournament.
The tournament was the latest event aiding the Oliver Holmgren Benefit. Holmgren, son of Justin and Rachel (Deutz) Holmgren, began experiencing significant health ailments when he was 10 months old, ranging from seizures, lack of speech, delayed physical growth, and chronic fatigue.
Now nearing his fourth birthday, Oliver, or Ollie, has spent the subsequent 2 1/2 years under the care of over 20 specialists at hospitals in Minneapolis, Rochester and Sioux Falls, S.D. Ollie's primary care takes place in Marshall, though he and his family make frequent visits to the Mayo Clinic for continuing specialist care.
Photo by Travis Andries
Mike O’Rourke, right, beckons to his tee shot on the par-3 sixth hole at Marshall Golf Club as Steve Maertens looks on during the Birdies to Benefit Ollie scramble golf tournament on Monday. Seventy-two golfers participated in the scramble, which is part of a series of events aiming to help the health care costs of Oliver Holmgren, child of Justin and Rachel Holmgren.
Although he has received remarkable support from his family, Ollie's health care providers are still unsure as to why he began to experience his current ailments.
In an effort to help the family with the mounting costs of health care, over 70 golfers participated in the scramble and 30 more were in attendance for the pre-golf luncheon. A silent auction was also held to benefit Ollie.
The tournament, silent auction and a previous rummage sale have thus far raised an estimated $23,000 for Ollie's benefit.
"I can tell you that the community support has been phenomenal for Oliver and our whole family. This golf tournament certainly means the world to us and to Oliver, no doubt about it," Justin Holmgren, Ollie's father, said. "It's hard to put into words when you have this many people turn out to support your son. And he needs every bit of it. He's doing great. The community support has been tremendous and we couldn't do it without the community of Marshall."
One community member has gone above and beyond in his efforts to help the Holmgren's.
Austin DeMuth was integral to the preparation and pursuance of Birdies to Benefit Ollie. DeMuth, a coworker of Holmgren's, also volunteers with the Pride in the Tiger Foundation golf tournament.
"I would definitely say you have to give Austin a lot of credit for pulling this off," Holmgren said. "He approached me a couple months ago and asked if I'd be alright with it. Of course I said yes, I think it's fantastic. There are a lot of people who put a lot of work into it, but a lot of it goes to Austin. He had a lot of support too from Bridget Deutz, which is Rachel's sister, all the sponsors that stepped up and supplied food and beverage. I was involved with it, but he ran the show."
DeMuth cited personal reasons for his motivation to aid Ollie's family.
"Justin and I have been friends for a few years; we actually work together out at US Bank, so colleagues that way. Our kids are about the same age. Ollie is about the same age as our oldest daughter, then Justin and Rachel's youngest is about the same age as our youngest; so we have a connection that way," DeMuth said. Then Justin and I are partners during golf. So just over the years of hearing the Ollie story it just kind of came together that we should do a benefit in his name."
The golf tournament was just one way in which to assist the Holmgren's in their search for a cause and possible cure for Ollie's ailments.
"Ultimately at the end of the day I would say if there was anyone who wasn't able to make it or wasn't aware of the benefit today, they could reach out to myself or Austin DeMuth," Holmgren said. "I would probably still spearhead them to Austin, since he's been the one running with it. But they can always reach out to Austin, and me too."
Team 11: Nate Bourne, Carlton Lance, Tony Mensink, Josh Hawkinson 29-28-57; Team 1: Phil Buysse, Brett Van Vooren, Hans Zahrbock, Chad Andreas 30-28-58; Team 17: Dan Marks, Kurt Kovash, Charlie Ehlers, Spencer Ehlers 29-29-58; Team 4: Mike Rutter, Tony Caswell, Chris Edwardson, Derek Ryan 30-30-60; Team 8: Barry Folkens, Lori Folkens, Blair Folkens, John Hoffer 31-31-62; Team 5: Paul Meyer, Kristie Meyer, Jay Catoor, Heather Catoor 32-31-63; Team 14: Ryan Rohlik, Dean Zwach, Aaron Schlemmer, Justin Schlemmer 33-30-63; Team 12: Ken Noyes, Jan Noyes, Nicole Noyes, Stephanie Noyes 31-33-64; Team 18: Jim Christianson, Kim Christianson, Annie Deutz 34-32-66; Team 6: Josh Johnson, Dan Stassen, Gary Stassen, Trent Fischer 34-32-66; Team 7: Todd Bock, Jane Bock, Steve Verkindren, Pat Verkindren 36-34-70; Team 3: Rick Deutz, Nathan Deutz, David Deutz, Austin Deutz 37-33-70; Team 15: Harris Holmgren, John Holmgren, Johnny Holmgren 37-34-71; Team 9: Austin DeMuth, Brydie DeMuth, Brady Webb, Jennifer Webb 36-36-72; Team 13: Jerry Neises, Sue Neises, Ned Dripps, Kate Dripps 37-36-73; Team 10: Dick Maertens, Steve Maertens, Adam Maertens, Dr. Mike O'Rourke 36-38-74; Team 2: Erica Bly, Bobbi Werkman, Lindsey Voigt 36-39-75; Team 16: Deb Deutz, Sarah Deutz, Tracy Deutz, Linnea Roos 37-39-76
Flag prizes: No. 2: Longest drive - women, Brydie DeMuth; No. 4: Closest to the pin, Dan Marks; No. 6: Longest Putt, Tony Caswell; No. 8: Longest Drive - men, Josh Hawkinson; No. 9: Closest to the pin, Steve Martin; No. 10: Closest to the pin, Dan Stassen; No. 14 Longest drive - men, Tony Mensink; No. 16: Closest to the pin, Tony Mensink; No. 17: Longest drive - women, Nicole Noyes; No. 18: Longest drive, John Hoffer.