Memorial Tournament Volunteer of the Year
Belief in Children's Hospital mission drives Rodgers
Ken Rodgers is a fixture at the Memorial Tournament, holding nearly every volunteer job in his 12 years helping out.
But it's more than just a love of golf that has kept the man recently named the Memorial Tournament's Volunteer of the Year involved.
Rodgers understands the importance of the work done at Nationwide Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which is a benefactor of the annual Dublin golf event.
"I like golf and I like the community," Rodgers said. "I want to support Nationwide."
Both children adopted by the Dublin resident and his wife Judy have utilized natal care, although not at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
Rodgers' daughter, Jennifer, had open-heart surgery at the age of 2 and Coffman High School junior Christian was born 14 weeks early.
"His file is like a big city phone book," Rodgers said of his son's medical records.
Both of Rodgers children are doing well, thanks to the help of Nationwide Children's Hospital and other similar facilities in the country.
"When I think of (Nationwide) Children's Hospital, I think of the commitment and dedication," he said. "The doctors are wonderful and I've been impressed by the whole scene at children's hospital."
At the Memorial Tournament, Rodgers is known as the go-to man when a volunteer shift needs filled, especially with experience as a green side reporter, green's captain, a member of the Shotlink crew and sandwich factory worker.
But he doesn't see himself as deserving for the title of volunteer of the year with thousands involved in the event.
"There are so many more deserving people that work so well together," Rodgers said.
"The lady's (auxiliary that meets to arrange volunteers) meets yearround to support the tournament. The groups on the course help each other."
Along with a chance to help out, volunteering at the Memorial Tournament has given Rodgers a view of the event few people see.
"The golf course at night is a really interesting place," he said. "The grounds people are out and the pros come back to practice.
"They have their kids out and they're playing and trying to have a normal life on tour."
Volunteering has also given Rodgers a few experiences he'll never forget, such as working with his son for golfer David Schultz at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational when the golfer set a course record.
Schultz joked around with Christian, then 12, through most of the course and celebrated with him after hitting a birdie, Rodgers said.
"You can't buy a memory like that," he said.
The volunteer of the year award given to Rodgers May 6 gave him another thing he couldn't buy: a photo of the Muirfield Golf Course with a special thanks to him signed on it from Jack Nicklaus.
Rodgers is humbled and honored to be named volunteer of the year, but most of all is looking forward to spending four days volunteering at the upcoming Memorial Tournament.
"I'll be at the 18th green on Sunday," he said. "That's a real privilege."