This past week, the Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police held their annual golf outing.
Each year the DNR Conservation Police hosts the golf outing in Springfield in honor of a former Conservation Police Officer, Captain Kim Rhodes, who a few years ago lost a battle to cancer. DNR Conservation Police Officer, Ray Wichus explains the Memorial Golf Outing honors Captain Rhodes, who trained every Conservation Police Officer currently serving the State of Illinois.
Officer Wichus explains the outing is not just limited to Conservation Police. He says there are several groups that make an appearance that are friends of the DNR and are there to support their cause.
Officer Wichus credits Matt Graden who puts together the event each year. Officer Wichus says it is quite an undertaking and he thanks Graden each year for putting the outing together and gathering sponsors and prizes to be given away.
In 2010, they hosted 16 teams, had 31 hole sponsors, raising a total of over $4-thouaand raised to help Nick Rhodes, Kim’s son, pay college expenses. In 2011 the outing reached a new plateau, hosting 20 teams and secured 43 hole sponsors. Over $6-thousand was raised to help CPO Jeff Lane in his fight against ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).
Each year, the organizers explores new ways to create excitement about the opportunity to support a cause. In previous years, they had given away over $3,500 in cash and prizes each year. Key prizes included St.Louis Cardinals baseball tickets, a Branson vacation package, Illini Football tickets, St. Louis Rams Football tickets, $1,450.00 in cash, and a guided quail hunt.
The beneficiary for Captain Kim Rhodes Memorial Golf Outing 2012 is the Noah Johnson Memorial Initiative. CPO Chris Johnson’s son, Noah, tragically died at the age of 17 in December 2011. Since Noah’s passing, Officer Johnson has undertaken various projects to honor the memory of his son through things like the youth waterfowl hunt, a college scholarship program, amongst others.