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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mike Dunn Golf Scholarship Outing Masters Thirty Years

Mike's family at the 29th annual outing (Mike Dunn Scholarship Fund)

On Friday June 9th a couple of hundred people will gather at AJ Jolly Golf course in Alexandria to play some golf and raise some money in memory of Fort Thomas resident Mike Dunn. That someone is so well liked and remembered that they inspire this kind of turnout is impressive, but what is truly amazing is that the tournament is now in it’s 30th year, which tells you how much people think of Mike and his family.

Jayson Dunn, Mike’s brother agrees: “It says a lot about how he was, that people still turn out in his memory after all these years. A lot of people who come annually never met him, but they feel like they know him through this event.”

Mike Dunn graduated from Highlands in 1982.

An outstanding athlete, Mike was a captain of both the football team and the baseball team, and after his senior year was headed to Georgetown College on a football scholarship. During his final year he broke his leg during a baseball game when a base runner slid into him. During the x-rays doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in his leg.  He bravely fought cancer for 6 years but sadly passed away in 1988, never complaining and always with his usually happy-go-lucky outlook on life. Jayson remembers “He was always the same super-giving, wonderful person, even through his chemotherapy, which was pretty terrible back in those days.”

After he passed a group of his friends decided to organise a golf day in his honour. Jayson recalls “They wanted to do a golf outing because he loved to play golf.” About 85 people, mainly family and friends turned out. After the outing they had a little surplus cash left over, so the friends took the surplus and decided to start a scholarship for a student athlete at Highlands who embodied his spirit. Over the next couple of years the family took over “with the same intent, to reward a Highlands student who embodied what Mike was all about.”

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The first year they gave one $500 check but the outing grew: they now raise about $25,000 annually and award five Mike Dunn scholarships of $1000. Over the first 29 years they have handed out over $100,000 in scholarships, making the Mike Dunn scholarship one of the biggest in NKY in terms of total cash awarded. Jayson points out the fund also “donates to families who are in need, who are having hard times due to illness etc.” Over the course of the last three decades, it has also contributed to other local causes such as the new football field and Fort Thomas Education Foundation.

The golf outing is an all day event. The day is a bargain, for only $90 golfers play a round of golf, have snacks, lunch, dinner and drink throughout the day. There are many prizes and everyone leaves with a small memento with the fund’s logo. Jayson calls the day “an all day celebration. It’s a really good event, even after all these years we get together, put it all back together and see all the goodwill that everybody felt for Mike.”

The fund and the outing are driven by Mike’s immediate family: his dad Jerry Dunn and his wife Dottie, his mom Donna Clapp and her husband Jim, and Mike's siblings, Jayson Dunn, Greg Dunn and Julie Walker. Jayson says the outing and the good it has done have helped the family with their loss:

“It gets pretty emotional, the fact that people still remember him. The overwhelming response from those that knew him helps keep his spirit alive more than we could ever have imagined. It means a ton to the family.”

In the outing's 30th year there are a new generation of the Dunn family contributing to the event. Mike’s nieces and nephews, who never got a chance to meet their uncle, volunteer around the course, selling raffle tickets and doing whatever they can to help. “All of them got to know him more than we could ever have shared with them through the outing. They’ve really got a feeling about who Uncle Mike was, what he was all about and what kind of person that he was.”

The outing is close to a sell out every year and Jayson and the family want to thank everybody who has contributed in it's 30 years. "There are some people, who are not immediate family, who have attended every year. With their donations they’ve probably funded a scholarship by themselves. We’re proud it’s been going on so long and we just want to thank all the people who have given over the years.”

Even with the obvious success of the outing the Dunn family remain modest and thankful for the Fort Thomas community they live in.  Jayson says, “It’s a good old fashioned Fort Thomas community response, like we’re all used to seeing round here.”

The outing this year is Friday June 9th, the cost is $90 for golfers and $20 for those who only have dinner. For more information, to donate, or to get sponsorship information email or visit Registration deadline is 6/2/17

One of the younger participants (Mike Dunn Scholarship Fund)

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