Volunteers share their stories of why they volunteer at the premier PGA TOUR Playoff event near New York City
JERSEY CITY, New Jersey – Steve Dodge, the Corporate Hospitality Chairperson of the Volunteer Committee, still remembers his first time volunteering as a marshal at THE NORTHERN TRUST in 1988. He was inside the ropes on the 18th hole when World Golf Hall of Famer Seve Ballesteros hit his drive on the 18th green right in front of Dodge.
“His backswing passed in front of my nose…I was hooked!” Dodge exclaimed. “I have worked every shift of every day in various roles wherever it was held, whenever it was held and whatever the weather. It’s my Christmas.”
Volunteers like Steve Dodge help make THE NORTHERN TRUST one of the world’s most premier sporting events. More than 1,600 volunteers work hand-in-hand with the tournament team and PGA TOUR staff to deliver the tournament, set for August 6-11, 2019 at Liberty National Golf Club.
“We truly appreciate the amazing volunteers who generously donate their time and resources during THE NORTHERN TRUST,” said Michael O’Grady, Northern Trust Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “They enable the tournament to deliver important funds to local area charities – nearly $50 million since the event’s inception and a record $1.865 million in 2018 alone.”
In honor of National Volunteer Week, here are stories of some of THE NORTHERN TRUST’s dedicated volunteers who make this championship better each and every year.
“Every hour we commit to a tournament is making a difference in somebody else's life.”
“Golf was never on my radar until I realized my husband was going to volunteer at tournaments with or without me,” said Cindi Hopkins, Chairman of Guest Shuttle Services.
Hopkins decided to volunteer in 2009 to find out why her husband was so captivated by the tournament, and the rest, as they say, is history.
“We have been volunteering together ever since. The motivation is to enjoy golf, new experiences, and the camaraderie, but to understand every hour we commit to a tournament is making a difference in somebody else's life.”
“It makes me feel like I am part of a team”
Gianna Rojas, a veteran marshal volunteer with THE NORTHERN TRUST since 2013, was born with no fingers on her left hand. Her childhood years weren’t easy, especially since her family relocated every few years due to her father being in the Navy.
“Being the new kid was tough enough but a new kid with a visible disability was even harder. I was teased, beat up, picked on, left out, not picked for the team or asked to the dance,” said Rojas.The game of golf, however, proved to be a true equalizer. Once she got married, her husband was playing a lot of golf, and Rojas realized she needed to learn how to play.
“I figured if I have learned how to do things differently all my life, why couldn’t I find a way to golf?”
But learning how to play the game wasn’t easy. Rojas and her husband set out to find someone who could teach her, but there weren’t any specialized teachers in the area. In the process, however, Rojas started to uncover “this whole world of adaptive golf resources that no one was really showcasing.”
Fast forward a few more years, and Rojas helped found Adaptive Golfers, a non-profit organization that aims “to be a resource to provide individuals with different (not dis) ABILITIES with the resources, advocacy, and ambassadorship they need.” Since then, she’s begun an Adaptive Golf program in collaboration with PGA TOUR Superstores, where participants often learn how to swing a golf club for the first time. Volunteering at THE NORTHERN TRUST seemed like the perfect opportunity to be a part of a tightly knit team while raising awareness for her organization.
“The comradery that Golf offers is something that I had never felt before,” said Rojas. “As an ambassador for the tournament we as volunteers have the opportunity to [give] each and every guest that crosses our path an enjoyable and memorable experience…It gives me a such a sense of pride to say that I am a volunteer for the PGA TOUR’s THE NORTHERN TRUST [in the] FedExCup Playoffs and, most of all it makes me feel like I am part of a team.”
“A dream come true”
In 2008, Steve Pezzino lost his daughter, Stephanie Jude, to a genetic illness that he suffers from and unknowingly passed on to her. Stephanie was only 18. Since then, Pezzino has donated as much of his time possible to giving back. A competitive golfer himself, Pezzino decided to transition from playing on mini tours to becoming a full-time teaching professional. He then joined the volunteer team at THE NORTHERN TRUST.
“I all but gave up on golf and life, and found golf teaching at various levels rewarding enough to get me through this loss,” said Pezzino.
“As a proud volunteer being given an ability to embrace a great opportunity to enable phenomenal athletes from near and afar play at the pinnacle of their games, while affording fans the greatest opportunity to learn and enjoy from nearly inside the ropes, [is] a dream come true,” said Pezzino.
“If I can get one smile a day from touching the heart or likes of others, then my day is worthwhile.”
Be a part of THE NORTHERN TRUST family
Those interested in joining THE NORTHERN TRUST team can sign up now to become a volunteer. Positions for this unique inside-the-ropes opportunity fill up quickly, so volunteers are encouraged to act fast. Questions about volunteer duties or the application process can be directed to Megan Brewi at [email protected]
For more information about THE NORTHERN TRUST 2019, please visit THENORTHERNTRUST.COM. Fans are encouraged to follow THE NORTHERN TRUST on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.ABOUT THE NORTHERN TRUST
THE NORTHERN TRUST is the first of three events in the FedExCup Playoffs, the culmination of the season-long competition that is the centerpiece of the PGA TOUR Season. Played in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area, THE NORTHERN TRUST features do-or-die drama as the top 125 players compete to advance. With strong ties to the essential elements of New York culture, the event is a celebration of food, lifestyle, the very best golfers on the PGA TOUR and a fan experience that is unmatched. Many of the world’s top players have won THE NORTHERN TRUST including Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Jason Day, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson and 2018 champion Bryson DeChambeau, who captured a four-stroke victory and became the tournament’s youngest winner in the FedExCup era. Since the tournament’s inception in 1967, THE NORTHERN TRUST has generated nearly $50 million for New York/New Jersey Metropolitan-area charities.
ABOUT NORTHERN TRUST
Northern Trust Corporation (Nasdaq: NTRS) is a leading provider of wealth management, asset servicing, asset management and banking to corporations, institutions, affluent families and individuals. Founded in Chicago in 1889, Northern Trust has offices in the United States in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and 23 international locations in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. As of December 31, 2018, Northern Trust had assets under custody/administration of US$10.1 trillion, and assets under management of US$1.1 trillion. For more than 125 years, Northern Trust has earned distinction as an industry leader for exceptional service, financial expertise, integrity and innovation. Visit northerntrust.com or follow us on Twitter @NorthernTrust.
Northern Trust Corporation, Head Office: 50 South La Salle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603 U.S.A., incorporated with limited liability in the U.S. Global legal and regulatory information can be found at https://www.northerntrust.com/disclosures.