Ice Bowl Impact

19 Jan

Olivia1

With the long tradition of Ice Bowl season going strong, it’s easy to see this as just another time to play golf and ‘do our part.’ For Nebraska Disc Golfer Ben Rutkowski, a charity event is more meaningful and attaches new life to the charity tradition.

Rutkowski, originally from Maine, moved to Omaha a few months ago for his wife’s job. They recently relocated from Indiana where his family of 3, soon to be 4, journeyed through hardships many of us are lucky to bypass.

Olive Aletta Jean was born  at 23 weeks and had pneumonia, a hole in her heart, and was thought to be blind. Frail but precious, Olive spent the first year of her life in NICU facing an uphill battle.  Rutkowski would work two full time jobs then drive two hours to the area hospital capable of caring for Olive, just to spend another weekend with his family.  “It was hard. It all seems like a blur, but you really just do what you have to at a time like that. Looking back I don’t really know how we managed to keep it together. The doctors and nurses saved our daughter. The Ronald McDonald House saved our marriage and our sanity.”

While nearly living in the hospital, the kindness of nurses and the Ronald McDonald Foundation brought a sense of comfort and normalcy to a situation that was anything but. “When you are so far from home, and have basically a trunk full of belongings, it was a real blessing to have an organization like the Ronald McDonald House where we could eat, sleep, do laundry, and escape the hustle and noise of the hospital for an hour or two.”

When thinking of ways to give back, Rutkowski loved the idea of a charity disc golf event.  Upon learning more about Ice Bowls, pairing up with an existing program seemed like a great opportunity. Long time Nebraska Disc Enthusiast and future Hall of Famer Mr. Bill was happy to help.

Omaha’s Ice Bowl will be on February 2nd at Seymour Smith park. Tee off will be  12:00pm.  Proceeds will benefit the Omaha Food Bank and The Ronald McDonald House. If anyone has played with Ben, they appreciate his humility and compassion on the course that comes from a deeper understanding of the fragility of life.  Everyone is invited to attend. The purpose is fun, camaraderie and a practical way to give back.

Olive2

The Ice Bowl schedule in Nebraska currently includes:

  • Ice Bowl for Lincoln Food Bank
    • Sunday January 27, 1:00pm.
    • Tierra Park, Lincoln
    • $10 donation
    • Super Class discs encouraged, and raffle items accepted
    • link to Lincoln event discussion
    • Sponsors: Star City Disc Golf Association, Lincoln Ultimate Disc Association, Ultimate Disc Store
  • Ice Bowl for Omaha Food Bank & Ronald McDonald House
    • Saturday, February 2, 12:00pm
    • Seymour Smith Park, Omaha
    • $5 donation and canned goods
    • link to Omaha event discussion
    • Sponsor: Omaha Metro Disc Golf Association
  • Ice Bowl for Project Hunger

Aaron Brooker

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