It is expected to be the largest and most eventful fundraiser to date.
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Some lives embody a spirit of joy and selflessness recognized universally. They serve as a light and beacon as how to get the most out of ones time on earth in a way that can only serve to the benefit of others. They are lives worth celebrating and remembering.
Cory Hegna was one of those individuals. A multi-faceted talent who looked upon his gifts with gratitude and responsibility––never as a reason to put himself above others. He loved to make people laugh, he loved the outdoors and he loved life. And it is why a large contingent of the community continues to celebrate his spirit most notably through Friends of Cory (FOC) Scholarship Fundraiser Golf Tournament.
This will be the eighth and final year that the FOC Scholarship Fundraiser has held the annual banquet in honor of the then 17-year-old Yellow Medicine East senior whose life seemed cut short when by an ATV accident on July 6 of 2006. It is expected to be the largest and most eventful fundraiser to date.
“We wanted to go out with a bang,” said Cory’s mother Stacey.
It’s not that energy behind the event has waned. In fact, with 144–plus golfers participating every year, it’s as strong as ever. It’s just that the family never intended to continue the fundraiser indefinitely, Stacy explained. And with the eighth year appropriately symbolic given the star athletes baseball number, “8” –– it just seemed the right time.
Faithful fundraiser goers can expect to see a similar set-up to those of years past when the FOC event is held on June 28. Once again, there will be a golf tournament and live and silent auctions; but new to the day will be the special raffle of a custom-designed fish house, which was built by Cory’s friends and relatives to specifications that the outdoor enthusiasts would resoundingly approve.
According to Eric Soine a group of six to eight has been meeting every Wednesday for at least the past three months to construct the toughest fishhouse you’ll ever see from just about scratch.
The fish house features 2 x 3’’ stud walls, aluminum siding, a cedar interior, custom built hickory cabinets, a gas stove, spray foam insulation, LED lighting, a stereo system with USB connection, Blue Tooth and surround, TV and antennae hookup and five fishing holes.
“It’s pretty deluxe,” said Soine. “It’s built solid and it’s built with love.”
To date, the Scholarship Fundraiser has distributed $43,000 in scholarships to 91 graduating area seniors since its inception. Chosen by a 10-member FOC board, the scholarships are distributed to an undefined number of students each year based upon qualities identified by the board and that reflect the best characteristics of Cory.
Fundraising has been so successful with the event that even if the golf tournament is no longer being held money would likely be available to provide additional scholarships for what Stacy said could be more than a decade.
This year’s fundraiser will be on Saturday, June 28 at Granite Run Golf Course. Flight times are 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m with auctions and raffle drawings scheduled for the evening.
The 800 available fish house raffle tickets are available at the Granite Falls Bank, and at $20 a piece are going fast so that individuals are encouraged to purchase them posthaste. In addition, the FOC group will again be selling T-Shirts featuring the year’s annual FOC logo––designed by Alyssa Hoffman––based upon themes of Cory’s favorite things, ranging from hunting and fishing to golf and baseball. Pre-orders are a must and interested individuals are asked to call Ashley Soine at 320-979-1718 or Kristen Hegna at 320-905-9295 to reserve theirs at their earliest convenience. Cost is $10 per shirt.
It will inevitably be a bitter sweet occasion when Saturday comes to a close on June 28. In the future, Stacy says she wouldn’t be surprised to see friends and family continue to informally gather for a round of golf in Cory’s honor, but for now the family just can’t wait to hold the event one more year.
“We just have absolutely great family and friends,” said Stacey. “It’s always wonderful ... It’s a day that Cory would absolutely love. He would be right in the center of it.”