TESTIMONIAL FROM BRUCE LUBACH, PGA OF AMERICA
Specifically, Steve Hogan blazed a trail for golf in North Omaha. I count myself fortunate Steve was a member of the Nebraska Section during my tenure as the Executive Director. Steve had to work hard to become a PGA member. Let’s just say the “school work” part of passing the requirements wasn’t easy for him. But, because of his perseverance, diligence and a loving, supportive wife in Danette, he attained his goal of becoming the first African American PGA member in the Nebraska Section. There’s a life lesson there for all of us!
One of the highlights I will always remember during my time as the Executive Director was when Steve was recognized as the Junior Golf Leader for the PGA of America in 2003. His stirring, heartfelt speech was given without notes and in looking around the packed auditorium in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, many usually stoic PGA members were moved to tears listening to him. His dream for the Hogan’s Junior Golf Heroes was more than just about golf. As he so aptly put it, golf was the ‘hook’. Steve credited a man from his neighborhood in North Omaha with this sage advice, ‘Steve, you be honest to people and you try to give back and you’ll be blessed’.
Once you read this portion of the speech Steve gave back in 2004, you will understand his mission, his “why” if you will.
“I’m just proud of what Hogan’s Heroes is all about, we’re doing great things, ya’ know golf is just a little part of it. It’s the hook; get the kids to pick up a book, to read to make friends, to share ideals, to grow. You know Martin Luther King had a dream that all of God’s children can walk hand in hand, to hold hands and walk together. My dream is the same; it’s just in the game of golf. When I see our kids out playing and it’s a rainbow of kids, I feel real excited because you know, they’re out of the streets, they’re playing in the grass, they’re getting dirty, they’re hitting golf balls, they’re asking questions, they’re picking up books. I feel that I’m doing my part and I feel that all the guys up there (motions upward) that helped me in life, I’m giving back and I know I’m being led and I’m being blessed and this is what I do.”
I can still see Steve giving this speech in my memory and how moved everyone was. What a special evening!
More important to Steve was the ‘hook’ was designed to instill values of being a good person, a good citizen, a good student which all align so perfectly with the nine core values of The First Tee. I will go out on a limb and say these core values were part of his Hogan’s Junior Golf Program before The First Tee was started some twenty years ago nationally and 2002 in Omaha.
Although Steve left us way too early, I know Danette, Steve Jr. and Sierra are proud of him and what he accomplished with his life. I am honored I had the chance to know him and to be involved with him with the junior golf part of his life. More importantly though, is the memory of how Steve made me feel. I am sure many of us can say that! I also want to feel ‘that I’m doing my part”.
Bruce Lubach, PGA
Former Executive Director, Nebraska PGA, 1989-2009
HOGAN’S JUNIOR GOLF HEROES FOUNDATION
The Hogan’s Junior Golf Heroes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and founding entity of First Tee – Omaha, chartered by the World Golf Foundation since to 2002 to serve the youth in the greater Omaha area with Golf and Life Skills programming.