Text: Greg Johnson
While Kevin McKinley, the director of golf and ski for Treetops Resort, didn’t serve in the military, his considerable support and contribution toward the United States Armed Forces and its veterans has been recognized by the PGA of America.
During its annual meeting in November, the national organization will award McKinley with the 2017 National Patriot Award for not only dedicating time and effort in providing golfing opportunities and experiences for military members, but also in recognition of McKinley’s fundraising efforts throughout the last decade.
McKinley has spent the last 10 years helping to raise more than $300,000 to donate to the Folds of Honor program through an annual National Patriot Day golf outing called the Patriot Day Shootout at Treetops Resort. While serving as the Michigan Section PGA Patriot Day Committee Chairman, he has also ushered an impressive 300 percent increase in donations statewide.
Inspired by the story of Folds of Honor founder Major Dan Rooney, McKinley has been the driving force behind the Gaylord-based Treetops Resort’s fundraising effort, and many have noticed. He has previously received the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs Legion of Merit, the Camp Grayling American Patriot Award and was named Michigan Army National Guard Civilian of the Year. In addition the Michigan Section and the Northern Chapter of the Michigan Section have presented multiple Patriot Awards to him.
Patriot Golf Day has become the largest grassroots golf fundraiser in America and is a joint initiative of The PGA of America and the USGA. It supports the efforts of the Folds of Honor Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships for the children and spouses of military men and women disabled or killed while serving in America’s Armed Forces.
“I spent 33 years of my life not paying a whole lot of attention,” said McKinley, a 43-year-old PGA golf professional, Gaylord resident, and Muskegon native.
McKinley’s charitable work is a part of the reason he has been named the PGA’s 2017 Golf Professional of the Year for the Michigan Section. In addition, in recognition of his leadership skills he will take over as the section’s 44th president in October.
“I’m humbled and inspired to do more, all at the same time,” McKinley said. “Every single veteran and active military person I’ve met: they are just a different breed. We deal with a lot of charities at Treetops, a lot of outings that raise great amounts of money, but the military people in Folds of Honor are the most humble recipients of charity I have ever dealt with. They profusely thank you, when in actuality I should be and we all should be, thanking them because they and their loved ones laid their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and my family’s freedoms.”
During the weekend of Aug. 31 through Sept. 3 when Treetops hosted the 10th Patriot Day Shootout, a video crew dispatched by the PGA of America followed and recorded McKinley. The video will be shown at the PGA of America’s annual meeting in Boston in November when McKinley receives his national award.