The Causes Behind the 11th Annual ZFD Memorial Golf Outing
Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of the Hoosier Burn Camp
The Zionsville Fire Department (ZFD) welcomes pro and novice golfers to participate in its 11th annual ZFD Memorial Golf Outing that will take place Monday, August 26, at the Golf Club of Indiana. The annual outing benefits the ZVFD Larry K. Rust Memorial Scholarship Fund, Hoosier Burn Camp and the ZVFD Bereavement Fund. For those who have not attended this outing, it is a meaningful way to give back and putt around with some of Zionsville’s finest, the men and women of ZFD.
This month, we decided to shine a light on the causes the annual golf outing supports. The ZVFD Larry K. Rust Memorial Scholarship Fund was created 11 years ago when ZFD lost volunteer firefighter Larry K. Rust. Each year, the fund gives a scholarship applicant who is a high school senior $1,000 toward college expenses. Another portion of the proceeds raised from the outing goes toward the ZVFD Bereavement Fund. Lastly, another portion raised goes to the Hoosier Burn Camp, which is supported by ZFD and a few of its firefighters who volunteer their free time at the summer camp.
Hoosier Burn Camp (HBC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1997, committed to providing experiences for young people who have suffered the physical and emotional trauma associated with a severe burn injury. Its annual summer camp and monthly events create experiences for burn survivors where they feel safe and comfortable just being themselves around other young people who have been through similar life-changing experiences.
Ron Lipps, inspector at ZFD, shared his personal experiences and his role with HBC in hopes that the outings’ attendees, sponsors and general public would have a better understanding of the good that comes from their generosity when they support the golf outing or make donations to ZFD Support Services.
Lipps shared that the first actual Hoosier Burn Camp was in 1999 in collaboration with a burn camp in Illinois. “Since then, our summer camps have been held at the YMCA Camp Tecumseh near Brookston, Indiana,” Lipps said. “All of HBC’s programs are funded completely through fundraisers, donations and in-kind support. This allows campers to participate at no cost to them or their families.”
HBC’s summer camp is for kids 8–18 years of age, but its mission is to also facilitate support for parents and caregivers who deal with guilt and the challenges of caring for a child with burn injuries, both physical and emotional.
“I became fully involved with [HBC] camp in 2003,” Lipps said. “My role is unique at camp. I head up the photography functions at camp. I also lead the production of recap videos that campers and families receive. The photography role preserves memories for our campers and also serves as a bridge for parents eager to see what their kids are doing while away at camp.”
Lipps graciously shared some incredible personal reflections about the impact he has seen the camp have on the young campers. He described how the campers will go from being quiet and extremely self-conscious individuals who refuse to swim because they don’t want others to see their scars to becoming outgoing kids, cannonballing into the water and having a blast with their fellow campers. And it’s because they realize that the other campers look and feel just as they do, but none of that matters just then. They just want to have fun being kids who are enjoying summer camp.
Lipps added, “Over the years, I’ve seen countless examples of kids coming out of their shells and overcoming fears.”
The people who attend or sponsor the annual golf outing are helping to make a difference in the lives of families and children within and beyond our local community.
Additionally, many local businesses sponsor ZFD firefighters so they can take a day off and participate in the golf outing and engage with other members of the community. ZFD Chief James VanGorder emphasized how appreciative the firefighters and the entire department are for these unique sponsorships that provide a community outreach opportunity within the golf outing itself.
“We have businesses throughout the community who have stepped up and provided a scholarship to cover the fees for the firefighters, and just about every year, any willing and available [Zionsville] firefighters are able to play for free and come out and enjoy themselves with members of our community,” VanGorder said. “We have several other businesses who give their support by either attending the event, sending their staff to participate or as a sponsor. It’s a fun day out at the Golf Club of Indiana, which makes it an enjoyable event with all the services they offer.”
New to the sponsor list this year is Sun King Brewery, which will be a beverage sponsor at the golf outing this year. Now you have absolutely no reason not to register!
There is still time to register, but you must hurry—the deadline for entry is August 16! Golf entry is $90 per player for 18 holes. Registration is available at Zionsville Fire Department Headquarters at 1100 W. Oak St. or you can call (317) 873-5358 and register over the phone.