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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Local: A Shining Moment

  • Fowler-Bonan Foundation Clothes For Kids celebrates 10th Anniversary at Shawnee Hills
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  • There won’t be any fireworks or likely any diamond jewelry, but when Dale Fowler celebrates the 10th Anniversary of his Fowler-Bonan Foundation Clothes for Kids Golf event next week, there will be a moment of reflection.
    The first of what is now three different golf events across southern Illinois will return to its marquee home July 16 and 17th at Shawnee Hills Country Club in Harrisburg.
    There has already been one event this summer at Franklin County Country Club in West Frankfort and one planned for Jackson County Country Club in Murphysboro on July 28.
    The event at Shawnee Hills is open for children ages 4-11 (on July 16) and ages 12-18 (on July 17).
    Fowler looks back on the that first event and never dreamed it would become the event it is today.
    “If it hadn’t been for this event 10 years ago, we wouldn’t be today,” Fowler said. “It’s unimaginable, it really is. We went from what was a dream of helping five or six kids to now being able to provide for over 400.”
    The Fowler-Bonan Foundation Clothes for Kids became a donated-driven event where money raised went to provide clothes for kids that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.
    Of the 418 kids that the event was able to help out last season, 50 percent of that was done in Saline County.
    “I went into this  thinking all I wanted to do was help five or six kids a year and give them the opportunity to wear new shoes and clothes, period,” Fowler said. “That was my whole vision; to make sure I could help five or six kids would have a brand new wardrobe that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity and then here we are today.”
    What went from getting a couple of pair of jeans, a package of socks and a pair of shoes has morphed into three pair of jeans, four shirts, multiple packages of socks, underwear and t-shirts, along with a new pair of shoes and a winter coat.
    “I didn’t ask for a single donation that first year,” Fowler recalls. “I charged 15 dollars a kid and had a 10.00 per kid profit. I was hoping to have 30 or 40 kids to be able to raise 400 or 500 hundred dollars to help those kids get some clothes and we had 58 kids that day.
    “Then what happened is afterwards when I had everyone in the clubhouse at one time and told them why they were there and what the money was going for, all of a sudden, I had parents or a business man ask me, ‘why didn’t you tell me you needed donations?’ Then I was getting another 20.00 or a check for 100.00. That happened that day and we ended up raising 1,500 dollars.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Last year events raised in the excess of 40.000 dollars, allowing the foundation to help more than 400 children.”
    Still, Fowler believed even after the third or fourth event, where they were helping 100 kids at the time, that they couldn’t do better than they were already doing.
    “Now we’re three-fold or four-fold that. We send out information to possible sponsors, but I have yet to confront someone or knock on someone’s door and say hey, ‘will you make a donation?’ I’ve never had to. I’ve never had a goal.”
    Fowler said what they raise is what they raise and what they raise is what they spend.
    As for the golf, while it allows younger children to experience the game, it has very little to do with the big picture.
    “Our mission is to let the kids know that this is friendly competition and we want them  to come out and enjoy the game for the cause, instead of seeing who wins.”
    The events offer fun for children that have never played golf, as well as for children who would like to compete for trophies.  All participants receive an award, t shirt, and lunch at a cost of only 20.00.

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