Golfer Zach Johnson may have been the victor of the 2012 John Deere Classic, but volunteer Stan Ahlstrom of Geneseo also emerged a big winner.
In the course of three separate drawings, Ahlstrom won a round of golf at TPC Deere Run in?Silvis, a Steve Stricker autographed golf bag and a vacation to the World Golf Village in Florida.
“My daughter told me I should buy a lottery ticket,” joked Ahlstrom.
A retired USDA meat inspector, Ahlstrom has volunteered as a standard bearer at the John Deere Classic golf tournament for the past four years.
He first decided to volunteer at the suggestion of Geneseo travel agent and long-time John?Deere Classic volunteer Diane?Lowe.
“I was booking a trip, and she mentioned the John Deere Classic,” said Ahlstrom.
“(Stan) has a real outgoing personality, and I knew he was a giving sort of guy who did volunteer work driving veterans to the hospital in Iowa City,” said Lowe.
“I’d heard he’d retired, and I told him, ‘I bet you’d enjoy (the golf tournament),’” she said.
Lowe has volunteered with the standard bearers at the tournament for the past 38
years. Since the early 1980s, she has been chairman of the standard bearers committee.
Standard bearers serve as walking scoreboards during the tournament, and Ahlstrom credits Lowe and her fellow co-chairmen Molly McNamara of Galesburg and Patricia Welch of Davenport, Iowa, for making that division of the tournament a success.
Each day of the tournament, the names of the approximately 1,400 volunteers are entered in prize drawings.
“Electronically, they select the names of winners and give away things like rounds of golf, car washes, coolers and miscellaneous things,” said Lowe.
Winners’ names are posted in the volunteer appreciation tent.
“Every morning, we’d go in there to see if we knew anyone who’d won,” said Lowe.
On Thursday of the tournament, Ahlstrom’s name was drawn for a free round of golf — a prize he said he gave to a friend.
Later during the tournament, Ahlstorm visited a Birdies for Charity tent and opted to purchase a raffle ticket for a Steve Stricker autographed golf bag.
“The volunteer (at the Birdies for Charity tent)?asked if I’d like to buy a chance at the bag, and I said, ‘Sure,’” said Ahlstrom, who was a standard bearer for Stricker at a previous tournament.
At the conclusion of the tournament, Ahlstrom’s raffle ticket was selected, and the Geneseo man won the golf bag.
In addition to being eligible for daily prizes, volunteers at the John Deere Classic are available for larger prizes.
“I was told to get down to the volunteer tent and look at the names because I’d won a big prize,” said Ahlstrom.
Page 2 of 2 - “I was looking at all the prizes and didn’t see my name until I got to the grand prize,” he said.
Ahlstrom received a three-day/two-night stay at the Renaissance Resort in World Golf Village in Florida. His trip includes a round of golf for two on the Slammer &?Squire Golf Course, two tickets to the World Golf Hall of Fame and IMAX theater, a 30-minute lesson for two at the PGA Tour Golf Academy and airfare and parking at the Quad-City Airport.
In her nearly 40 decades of volunteering at the John Deere Classic, Lowe said she’s never known anyone who’s won as many prizes as Ahlstrom.
“I’d never seen that before,” said Lowe.
“When?I volunteer, I don’t ask for anything in return, but I believe if you do good things, good things will come back to you,” said Ahlstrom.
“Volunteering gives me a lot of joy. I?like meeting people. After I retired, I knew I didn’t want to just sit around and get old,” he said, adding he hopes to keep volunteering at the John?Deere Classic “as long as I can.”