Received Donald D. Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award
GLENVIEW, Ill. – Three longtime Directors of the Western Golf Association were honored for their volunteer leadership during the WGA’s Annual Meeting on Monday, Aug. 2, at Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois.
Honored with the Donald D. Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award were: Thomas P. Kearney of Lake Forest, Illinois, R.E. “Buffy” Mayerstein of West Lafayette, Indiana, and Ede Rice of Edina, Minnesota, who have served the WGA and its Evans Scholars Foundation in longtime volunteer leadership roles.
“Each of these individuals has shown exceptional commitment and dedication to our championships and scholarships,” said WGA Chairman Kevin Buggy. “We gratefully acknowledge their devotion to the game of golf and their support of Evans Scholars across the country.”
The award was established in 2009 in recognition of Don Johnson’s 22 years of leadership at the WGA, which conducts championships for professional and amateur golfers, promotes the use of caddies and oversees the Evans Scholars Foundation, which awards college scholarships to caddies with limited financial means. Johnson led the Evans Scholars Program and WGA golf championships from 1988 through 2009, when he retired as President and CEO.
Thomas P. Kearney: Kearney, of Lake Forest, Illinois, became a WGA Director in 1990 and served as chairman of the scholarship committee from 2007-2013. He graduated as an Evans Scholar from the University of Illinois in 1968 and caddied at The Beverly Country Club. He also worked the WGA’s Western Junior and Western Open as a volunteer Director for nearly 30 years. Kearney is a member of Exmoor Country Club, Ballybunion Golf Club in Ireland, Old Collier Golf Club in Florida and Burning Tree Club in Maryland.
Kearney says, “When people ask me about the Evans Scholarship, I tell them it has given me a family, it has given me my first job, and it has given me a career, and for all that I’m so thankful. Outside of my family, earning the Scholarship is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and this recognition is the best I could ever hope for. I’m thankful for everyone at the WGA and ESF who are working hard every day to keep Chick’s dream alive.”
R.E. “Buffy” Mayerstein: Mayerstein, of West Lafayette, Indiana, became a WGA Director in 1981 and served as the WGA Chairman from 2002-2003. He has been a key figure in the growth and success of the Purdue Evans Scholars Chapter, serving on the Scholarship House Committee, as well as various other WGA committees including personnel, long-range plan and nominating. He served as tournament committee chairman/chairman of the Western Open from 1991-1997 and has been a volunteer at countless WGA championships. Mayerstein is a member of Crooked Stick Golf Club and Lafayette Country Club in Indiana.
Mayerstein says, “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the years I’ve worked with the WGA and the Evans Scholars, and it’s particularly rewarding when I have a young man or woman come up to me and share that they’re a Purdue Scholar. I’m very appreciative for this recognition and look forward to continuing the growth of the program in Indiana and beyond.”
Ede Rice: Rice, of Edina, Minnesota, became a WGA Director in 1995 and was the first woman ever elected to serve on the WGA’s Board of Governors in 2010, and her lifelong passion for the game of golf has spanned decades and many roles – tournament chair, rules official, team captain, league founder and champion player.
She has served in several leadership roles in Minnesota, including as State Chair from 2010-2016 and as a Scholarship House Committee member. Through the WGA, she also has served on the Caddie Committee, Scholarship Committee and Endowment Committee. She has been a board member for the Minnesota Golf Association for over 25 years. Rice is a member of Edina Country Club and Woodhill Country Club in Minnesota.
Rice says, “I’m thankful for this prestigious honor. The great privilege of being a WGA Director is having a front row seat to watch deserving young men and women earn a scholarship opportunity that literally changes their lives and the lives of their families, and changes our lives, too.”