Firefighters golf for scholarship fund

By on August 6, 2009

Annual Big Kahuna outing took place at Tanna Farms
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—An annual golf outing that raises money for scholarships also is an opportunity for local firefighters to share some time together away from the station.

This year’s Big Kahuna Classic took place Aug. 1 at Tanna Farms golf course in Geneva.

“It’s a light-hearted event, and at the same time, it raises money,” said participant Robert Cahill, a firefighter with the Sugar Grove Fire Department.

In addition to firefighters, the event’s golfers also are paramedics and other employees of local fire departments.

Cahill’s foursome, one of dozens participating in the outing, included Dave Blankenship, a Sugar Grove firefighter, Brandon Kotecki, a firefighter for the Sugar Grove North Aurora fire departments, and Bill Eby, a pilot and former Sugar Grove firefighter.

Paula Lacey, administrative assistant at the Sugar Grove Fire Department, also was part of this group. They shared some laughs, some divots and some sharp longshots and putts during the all-day event that ended with an outdoor supper and prizes.

The Big Kahuna was named after Mark Southern, the husband of a local firefighter, who passed away several years ago. Southern’s friends called him “The Hawaiian,” because he looked like a big Samoan, they said. After Southern died, Hanson and other area firefighters decided to honor his memory with an annual golf outing.

In its first year, the Big Kahuna outing raised money to help the Southern family, which includes his widow, Elburn firefighter Christine Southern. Since then, proceeds from the golf outing have funded scholarships for graduating high-school seniors with a parent employed by a fire department.

Proceeds from the Big Kahuna have funded two or three scholarships per year of up to $1,000 each, said Nancy Faber of Virgil. Faber and her daughter, Becky, cruised the course in a golf cart during the outing, selling raffle tickets.

PHOTO: Sugar Grove firefighter Dave Blankenship is poised to putt, while fellow firefighter Robert Cahill holds the flag, on a green at Tanna Farms golf course in Geneva during the Aug. 1 Big Kahuna Classic. The annual event honors Mark Southern and raises money for college scholarships. Photo by Martha Quetsch