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The Proviso East High School golf team recently received $60,000 from an unlikely source—their rival in the West Suburban Silver Conference.
Hinsdale Central High School officials organized a fundraiser for the Proviso East program on June 2 at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in northwest Kildeer, which drew more than 100 people and generated $60,000 in donated equipment and other resources.
"We're so appreciative," Gerald Holmes, who graduated from Proviso East in 2001 and is now head golf coach at the school, told the Daily Herald. "It just goes to show you that the game of golf can bring out the best in people."
The unlikely fundraiser was inspired by tragedy. After Jimmy Horan, the late assistant golf coach at Hinsdale Central, died in a car crash in March last year, Holmes sent the family a card with a small donation and photo of the Proviso East team. When brother Terry Horan opened the card, he said he felt moved.
"As I looked at the Proviso East team photo, it hit me that all of the golfers were in gym shoes," Terry Horan told the Daily Herald in May.
"I figured this must be an under-resourced program, and wouldn't it be great to take this team under our wing as a family," he said. "We could outfit them with everything they could ever hope for to compete and win in the future."
So, he organized the golf outing, titled the "The Jimmy" in honor of his late brother, where attendees donated everything from new golf shoes to uniforms to clubs. Proviso East golfers also received five spots in Nike's coveted summer golf camp thanks to the fundraiser.
"This is amazing," said Jonathan Vega, a Proviso East sophomore and golf team member, in a school statement released June 14. "As we play we will always remember your generosity and the Horan family for doing this for us."
Maria Pinela, a sophomore on the Proviso East golf team, said the Horan family "are different type of people" who "saw an opportunity to help the people who love this sport, and not only did they improve our golf skills as well, they showed us that one act of kindness can turn into a life-changing event."
"We are so moved by the legacy of Jimmy," said D209 Supt. Jesse Rodriguez. "[District 209] is inspired by the fact that the Horan family has continued with the legacy of service by organizing this event for Proviso East."