This past month has been an amazing ride of emotions. To start, Tom leaves for Florida to prepare for and compete in 1st Stage Qualifying…which takes him from home for 14 straight days. This may not seem like much, but Tom has always been a homebody and we’ve never been apart for more than 4 days max so it really was a test for us. I joined Tom after 10 days in Florida; just in time to catch the last round of 1st Stage Qualifying and coincidentally he shoots his best round to qualify. I’ll take credit for that. Team Werk.
Tom still works full time (although he’s a commissioned salesperson so “full time” is a relative term). It’s the holiday season and his biggest account is in the process of creating what could be his biggest sale of the year while he’s gone. Tom’s bosses at MCS Marketing (Melissa, Chuck & Scott) all got behind Tom & assured him he’d have the support he’d need to manage his account and give him the piece of mind to let him do what he needed to do to qualify. Team Werk.
Mike Boogaard, head golf pro & part owner at The Pines Golf Course…who is Tom’s putting coach (and also gives input on other parts of his game) stepped aside from his job to caddy for Tom; missing his granddaughters birthday & an important doctor appointment for his wife (who is battling a rare disease). Not once did he leave his job & family, but twice; in Florida and again in Arizona. He doesn’t get paid for this (although Tom’s sponsors cover his expenses)…he does it because he knows Tom’s potential and he wants to be part of a winning combination. He is the positivity to Tom’s negativity on the golf course. He truly becomes Tom’s biggest ally and endures what anyone who’s ever caddied for Tom knows is possibly the most frustrating 4-1/2 hours in a day. Then he makes sure the evenings after golf are a time of decompression and comic relief. If you can picture a silver haired, physically fit man lounging by a poolside, using a sports bra as a coaster and spouting off about the book he’s writing about women, you’ll have the beginnings of an understanding of Mike Boogaard. Team Werk.
Back home, “holding down the fort” as they say, are our children. Our son Dean stays at our condo while we’re gone & cares for his 4-legged furry sisters who do quite well for a day or two alone, but really shouldn’t be alone as long as we’ve been gone. He also acts as part-time chauffeur to the airport. He totally makes being gone much easier! Our daughter Caitlyn was an amazing factor in this week’s outcome; driving to Grand Rapids on a moments notice to retrieve & overnight a document that, would it not have arrived, could’ve meant disqualification for Tom. That’s a whole story in-and-of itself which I’m fairly certain cost me a couple years off my life and several new gray hairs. Her husband Ryan, our awesome son-in-law is a constant source of support & encouragement…providing a much needed “insiders” perspective for Tom and is always there to bounce ideas off of. Team Werk.
My new boss allowed me, after only 2-1/2 months to work remotely for a day so I didn’t have to take an unpaid day off to come & be with Tom in Arizona. He’s been so understanding of this process…especially when, after I had just taken 2 days off to go to Florida, allowed me to then turn around, work 2 days & leave again for Scottsdale on basically no notice. Team Werk.
Peter & Kristin Bosch who gave us a time share for Tom to stay at in Florida for 14 days on short notice and who tried to find one for us in Scottsdale as well. Team Werk.
There are countless friends who celebrated Tom’s victories with us at Putts and consoled us in his defeats (again, at Putts). So many of you who know exactly who you are and how much you mean to us. I dare not try to name all of you because if I forget someone it would break my heart for you to feel left out. Most of you are former Highlander’s as well as fellow Brookers and even the staff at Putts! These friendships we truly treasure with all our hearts. Team Werk.
Lastly…and definitely not least, in fact I purposely left him for the end because I want people to realize how extremely important he is. Joel Eerdmans, Tom’s main sponsor believed in Tom as much (or more) than anyone who’s known Tom, without having really known Tom long at all. Joel is the only reason we were able to do this. Yes, Tom has other sponsors. Paul Kamps, Doug Meijer, Bill Buchanan…these men will all play their part soon (January 2018 is a target date), and have all verbally committed to sponsor Tom. Joel, however, stepped in without a contract, knowing we needed to have funds up front to get through qualifying and never batted an eye. His constant support and guidance through the business end of this journey has proved invaluable and truly made this possible. Joel owns JDE concrete in Grandville so if you ever need concrete work…please call them and know that by doing so you’ll bring this whole thing full circle. Team Werk.
I’m reminded of a benediction that my pastor used to read at the end of service when I was a kid. Tom & I are Christians and we know that it’s only by God’s grace that we are so blessed to have each & every one of you in our lives. My wish for each of you is contained in that benediction. Numbers 6:24-26 says, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”