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August 2012

Volunteer of the Year

John Bennett

John Bennett, 2012 Volunteer of the Year

John Bennett is the kind of volunteer an organization can depend on: He digs in and makes big things happen, and he has longevity. That’s why Bobcat is proud to announce John as our 2012 Volunteer of the Year!

Bennett moved to the Fargo area in 1968 with a young family, laying down roots in the community and launching his own investment and securities firm, Bennett Financial. He joined the Fargo Country Club (FCC). In the early ’70s, he started volunteering with the tournament doing everything from registering participants to selling advertising to spotting balls.

By 1984, he was very familiar with the Open’s needs, and took a lead role in FCC’s drive to not only secure a title sponsor for the North Dakota State Open, but align the event with a benefactor ripe with volunteers.

At the time, the event had spilled over to nearby Oxbow Country Club, located south of Fargo, and was becoming very labor intensive. It desperately needed more hands than FCC had to stage the event with an enrollment that had grown to more than 200 pros and 150 amateurs annually.

Luckily, Bennett happened to be a board member of The Village Family Service Center — and was instrumental in linking FCC with the deserving charity. The partnership with The Village strengthened the presentation Bennett and others pitched to potential sponsor Melroe Company CEO Bob Spolum. The rest — they say — is history!

Over the years, John has continued to operate his business and serve on numerous boards in the Fargo area, and he’s spent the last nearly 30 years as a starter for the tournament’s Friday and Saturday pro-am schedule. He’s enjoyed watching golfers climb the PGA ladder, such as Tom Lehman, who John remembers used to camp out behind the FCC swimming pool with his family before hitting it big. “You get to meet a lot of these guys and club pros. It’s been a lot of fun,” John says.