Volunteers devote time at FedEx St. Jude Championship tournament to help children

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The countdown is on! We’re just 10 days away from the FedEx St. Jude Championship tournament on August 11.

The tournament attracts golf pros and fans from across the globe, all while raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

That’s all part of what you can see. What you might not see are the hundreds of volunteers dedicating their time year after year to a great cause, some since the first tournament in Memphis back in 1958.

Volunteers told Action News 5, this is something they look forward to every year and being able to volunteer to help St. Jude is the best part of it.

From handling crowds to hushing them and learning what you need to know on and off the green, more than 1,500 volunteers prepare for the biggest week for golf in the Bluff City.

“That’s the best part about it,” said volunteer Charles Speed. “All these people work for nothing other than their pride or the kids at St. Jude.”

Volunteer Charles Speed has been a volunteer for 63 years. He started volunteering at the tournament with his parents at the Old Colonial Country Club.

Speed says the men and women in all of the 60 committees work hard day and night to put on the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

“This year our staff is going to come in at 5:30 a.m. it will last until 7 p.m.,” said volunteer Charles Everett.

More than 400 former and current FedEx employees like Charles Everett also dedicate their time.

Everett is the Chairman of the Practice Range committee, he’s volunteered for 26 years, catering to whatever the 125 pro golfers need.

Shipping and Receiving is a new committee this year, and will be a new challenge and a change of scenery for 46-year volunteer Elmer Holder.

“They get so many packages the week of the tournaments, that it got too much for the office people,” said volunteer Elmer Holder. “So they asked me if I would chair that position and I’ve got a team of guys and gals helping me so we hope we’ll do a good job the first year and they keep us on.”

Volunteering is also a family affair.

Russ and Tammy Beatse are stepping up along with their daughter, Caroline.

This is Tammy’s fourth year co-chairing the Information Committee.

Action News 5 asked her what’s the most popular question asked during the tournament.

“Where a golfer is it a specific time,” said Beatse. “What hole are they on? And sometimes it takes a little investigating.”

Thirty-one-year tournament volunteer veteran Russ, along with his team, will make sure all the volunteers stay hydrated and fed.

“If you’ve been enjoying the Memphis heat, imagine sitting somewhere in the middle of it for a few hours as a volunteer,” said Beatse. “We bring water and snacks to them, to the tune of about 15,000 bottles of water. We deliver during a week and a couple thousand ice cream treats every afternoon.”

No matter how long they’ve volunteered on the links, everyone we talked with said they keep coming back for one reason.

“I felt like in someway small way I’m doing something for the hospital and for the children at St. Jude and when you consider that they share their information with hospitals all over the world, it’s a huge call,” said Elmer Holder. “So I’m helping in some small way.”

“If we can help out at the golf tournament and on top of that I get to raise money for a fantastic organization, what else could you do,” said Russ Beatse. “When I drive by St. Jude, I feel like I’ve contributed. That’s all I wanna do is help contribute.”

“Over and over and over again as long as I am able to come out, I will definitely be coming out and volunteering for the children at St. Jude,” said Everett.

“It’s a great staff that’s on the tournament,” said Tammy Beatse. “It’s nice to see them every year and just to know we’re giving back something to our community and helping some children.”

These volunteers also raise money for St. Jude through the Hours for St. Jude program.

Volunteers donate hours of their time and ask their friends and family, in turn, to donate to their personalized fundraising page for new toys, physical therapy, treatment and more for patients.

So far, volunteers have raised nearly $300,000 for the hospital.

Copyright 2022 WMC. All rights reserved.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

Click here to report a spelling or grammar error. Please include the headline.