ORION -- For those worried about the generation set to lead us into life's next phase, might I suggest a sit-down with the likes of 20-somethings Lucas Grymonprez, Ian Cooper and Kevin Gladkin.
First, you will be amused. Few have a sense of humor and the comeback-timing these Orion natives possess.
Then you will be inspired.
Our future -- if it is what these three are about -- is in kind, caring and thoughtful hands.
The trio, lifelong pals and some of life's best people, gathered about this time a year ago to discuss how folks in our area are at their best when someone or a charitable entity is in need.
Grymonprez had just come from a golf outing to raise money to assist a local nonprofit. He marveled to Cooper and Gladkin about the number of golfers, volunteers and local businesses that backed the event to assist the charity.
"We decided that day it was time to give back,'' Cooper said. "Not just pay a fee and golf or write a check, but to organize, to become a 501(c)(3) operation, and annually give something back to the community.''
So the Hackers & Slackers Charity Golf Tournament was started. It will be held Saturday at Indian Bluff Golf Course, 6200 78th Ave., Milan. It features a shotgun start at 1 p.m., with a four-man standard best ball scramble. The cost is $65 per person and includes golf, dinner, prizes, raffles and a T-shirt.
And it's sold out.
"We stopped at 20 foursomes, just to make sure we had everything in place the first year,'' Cooper said. "It's a manageable number. We were impressed at the willingness of so many to be involved.''
Money raised this year will go to Bridging the Gap (http://www.bridgingthegapqca.org/), a nonprofit that works with area homeless and at-risk veterans.
"This is the great part,'' Cooper said. "We get the chance to assist veterans in need. Mike proudly served in the Marines, and when he saw the great work that goes on with this group, it was easy for us to earmark what is raised from our first tournament to Bridging the Gap.''
He said gaining 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status was huge and that Hackers & Slackers will pick a local not-for-profit each year to benefit from what they say will be an annual golf event.
Taking their first dip into the doing-something-for-others pool was eye-opening for the trio, in a good way.
"It's not an undertaking you can sit on,'' Cooper said. "You are always doing something that pertains to the tournament. And that's OK. What really opened our eyes was the generosity of so many individuals and businesses in our community.
"Name a business and I can tell you it stepped up. Seriously, so many found a way to be involved. We were amazed. And the folks at Indian Bluff -- and they do this stuff all the time -- went out of their way to be helpful.
"Folks can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if they know of some entity in need,'' Cooper said. "We are going to do our best to provide a not-for-profit with a boost each year. We are excited at the chance to give back, to be part of the many who want to assist in the community. Oh ...we will have some fun doing it.''
Man, will they.
Columnist John Marx can be reached at 309 757-8388 or Jmarx@qconline.com
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