It takes thousands of volunteers to make the John Deere Classic possible each year. But only a select few can say they’ve been giving their time for decades.
A few of the long-time volunteers tell Local 4 News what brings them back year after year.
This is the 41st year for Roger Wallace. The long-time volunteer says he’s formed life-long friendships over the years.
“It’s kind of like having 150 to 200 brothers and sisters for the week,” said Wallace.
One of the most well-known volunteers in Linda Little, who is ringing in her 43rd year this year. Little has been on transportation duty for years now.
“People get in my car every year and go ‘Oh Linda you’re back! Good to see you! You know, it’s like old home week for me,” said Little.
Each year Little takes home a pin, and puts it on a purse she carries throughout the tournament. It’s her unique way of remembering over four decades of volunteering.
“This purse is probably more famous than I am,” said Little.
While Little says she’s never golfed in her life, she knows what it’s like to be down on your luck. She says when she was younger she needed to use some of the resources that Birdies for Charity makes possible.
“My mother was sick and I had to take her home and quit my job to take care of her,” said Little.
Now she’s dedicated to making a difference, knowing what it’s like to be in their shoes.
“This has been my way of giving back to the community for their help to me when I really, truly needed it,” said Little.
It’s also all about giving back for Arkie Lovell, who has been coming back for 36 years.
“I can give two weeks here and it helps all these charities, it’s always helped all these charities in the area,” said Lovell. He says over the years his family has volunteered too.
The veteran volunteer even sleeps in a trailer for the week to make sure the tournament runs smoothly. But Lovell says the long hours and hot days pay off.
When asked if any of them have considered hanging up their volunteer hats, they all said they still have some years under their belt.
“I guess I just don’t know enough to quit!” said Wallace.
Because for these volunteers, you can never give too much time to giving back.