Introducing our new "news" page, by Bruce Mckenty
Happy New Year! We expect 2017 to be a banner year for the golf course and our veterans. It will be the first full year as an 18-hole golf course for American Lake Veterans Golf Course, thanks to Jack Nicklaus and his generosity. The golf course is in excellent shape, thanks to our volunteer Grounds crew and will only get better as the warmer weather arrives. Our equipment, much of it new, continues to be well-maintained by our Maintenance crew and ties closely to the great course condition. All of our volunteers continue to do an excellent job and are eager to serve each and every veteran, every day. This golf course continues to be managed, operated and maintained by 100% volunteers. Thank You Volunteers!
Effective January 1st American Lake Veterans Golf Course will be managed and operated by the Friends of American Lake Veterans Golf Course, the 501c3 non-profit corporation formed in 2004 to support all golf course capital projects. This transfer of management from the VA to the Friends will probably not be noticeable as we will continue to provide all of the services we currently provide at our current prices. There will be some noticeable improvements such as the opening of our new mini pro shop to sell golf balls, gloves, divot tools, logo shirts and hats, and other golf related supplies. Also, during the warmer weather we will have a snack cart that will cruise the golf course during peak hours to provide drinks and snacks for sale. Our goal is to continue to provide the best golf venue for our veterans that we possibly can.
Our mission will continue to be to provide our veterans a place “to heal through the power of golf.” In that vein, our top priority will be to our hospital in-patients and our disabled veterans. Please continue to be courteous and patient with them when they are golfing. Sometimes it takes them a little longer to hit that “great shot.” We are here for all of our veterans, their families, and their guests. Each year we limit the number of activities and tournaments that will close the course to open play and we will continue that into the future. We want all of you to have a most enjoyable experience here and wish for you to “hit them long and straight.” Play well!
MARCH, 2017 - Profile featuring Jim and Ellen Tengesdal
Jim and Ellen Tengesdal have spent their entire adult lives contributing to, supporting, and serving their community and the military. When I told them I wanted them to be the subjects of our first “Featured Profile” of our veterans and volunteers, Jim replied, “I’m no hero.” We at the golf course totally disagree!
Jim was born and raised in Tacoma and is a graduate of Lincoln High School. Jim, age 19 at the time, joined the Air Force on Halloween, October 31, 1942. After completing basic training, he was assigned to an airbase in New Jersey where he attended engine school. After graduating from engine school, he was assigned to the Casper Wyoming airbase, where he worked on and maintained B24 and B17 bomber and fighter plane engines. He served for “3 years, 3 months and 9 days” and completed his military service when the war ended.
After the war, Jim took advantage of the GI Bill and was able to go to college, earning a degree in Geology. His first job was working for the Department of Reclamation as the geologist assigned to help design and build Coulee Dam. After meeting and marrying his wife, Ellen, he continued his work as a geologist where they “travelled the world.”
Jim began his volunteer work at our golf course shortly after retirement in 1982. For the next 10 to 15 years, he worked with the grounds maintenance crew. The equipment used in those early days to maintain the course and landscape consisted of push mowers, rakes, and other hand tools. While Jim worked with the grounds crew, Ellen spent 10 years volunteering with “Meals on Wheels.” Jim encouraged her to check out the golf course to see if she would like to volunteer in the reception area, and the rest, as they say, is history. They both continue to work every Thursday to this day. Ellen’s role has evolved over the years to become one of our smiling hostesses, welcoming newcomers to the course, answering questions, and putting everyone at ease.
When asked why they have continued to dedicate so many years to volunteer work, their response was, “The people who volunteer and run the golf course have been very good to us. We’ve met all kinds of men and women who have served, including those who have been wounded physically and emotionally while serving our country.”
Jim and Ellen Tengesdal have been instrumental in contributing to what this golf course can do for our veterans. We are lucky to have them. We thank them for their continued service.