Volunteer of the Year
Tom Fleming has volunteered for 8 years (this will mark his 9th). He started working on the course at the Status Boards until he was "promoted" (his words) to the Press Room.
Tom Fleming started volunteering due to 3 reasons... his love of golf, Jack Nicklaus and in support of the Nationwide Children's hospital- the place that cared for saved his grandson's life.
Tom has always loved the game of golf although he has never played. Growing up, his family didn't have much and golf was the sport of the "rich families". Today, Tom follows the sport weekly. He watches whichever tournament is being telecast that week plus keeps up on where/what the PGA's best players are.
Tom has always respected Jack Nicklaus and kept up on his career and followed the Memorial on TV from his home in North Canton, Ohio. To him, jack was a "real down-to-earth guy who had done good."
Tom and his grandson, Ryan, are a "team" - before and during Ryan's illness, continuing even today! It was poetic that the two of them volunteered together from the beginning, whether on the boards or in the Press Room. Tom had always thought you had to live in Columbus to volunteer; when he learned that wasn't the case, he and Ryan signed up and they haven't missed a tournament yet!
Tom takes his volunteering very seriously - he feels that one number being placed incorrectly or if the wrong color is used could create incorrect information being reported to the public. Every September, he begins asking his daughter, Michele Joseph when the date for Volunteer Registration is set for in January to ensure Michele has marked time off on her calendar to register him as soon as the website opens. He doesn't have a computer and knows that the spaces are limited in the Press Room. He wants to ensure he gets his days/times because he can't "let the girls down".
The Memorial Tournament is a commitment he won't miss as long as he's able; several years ago, he had rotator cuff surgery. His goal in therapy was to get his arm in shape so he would be ready for the tournament - missing 1 year wasn't an option for him.
"What makes him a good candidate for Volunteer-of-the-Year?" It's because he embodies the essence of the Tournament from all aspects - he is self-less, enjoys the sport of golf, respects the history of the Tournament and its impact on Dublin/Columbus/the state of Ohio, has a passion to giving back to Nationwide Children's Hospital and understands the impact his good work has on the contribution made yearly from the Tournament to the hospital. He doesn't talk a lot about his volunteerism but the pride he feels is evident - his 5-year pin is on his Volunteer shirt every day during the tournament and he will be there for "his girls" every day they need him.
About the Award
Volunteers are at the heart of the Memorial Tournament’s dedication to the Memorial Tournament Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Every year thousands of volunteers share their passion for helping others by giving their time and talents to the success of the Tournament.
More than thirty Nationwide Children's Hospital Auxilians serve on the the Memorial Tournament Volunteer Committee, benefiting Nationwide Children's Hospital. They are responsible for recruiting, scheduling and managing volunteers throughout the Tournament. This dedicated committee, representing the Memorial Tournament and Nationwide Children's Hospital, works to ensure professionalism from all Tournament volunteers.
For every hour worked by one of the volunteers of the Memorial Tournament Volunteer Committee, a donation is made to the Memorial Tournament NICU. It is in recognition of these selfless men and women that the Tournament annually honors an individual as the Volunteer of the Year.
The program began in 2003 and has since celebrated a recipient of the coveted award each year.
The Memorial Tournament Volunteer Committee kicks off the nomination process each year by requesting that each of the 15 committees recommend potential candidates. From those recommendations the top three candidates are chosen and voted on by a select committee of Tournament Officials. The Volunteer of the year is formally announced each May just prior to the start of Tournament week.
The Memorial's Volunteer of the Year award is supported by: