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TODAY news for Thursday, June 9, 2008

Loma Linda University Children's Hospital news

Ken and Kathleen Venturi contribute $100,000 to LLUCH

Dale Rotner (left), Patti Cotton Pettis (center), and Kathleen Venturi at the recent meeting of the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild
Dale Rotner (left), Patti Cotton Pettis (center), and Kathleen Venturi at the recent meeting of the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild in which Ms. Venturi presented the Guild with the $100,000 her husband, Ken, received for winning the 2008 Byron Nelson Prize from the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, Texas. The prize, which is sponsored by Texas oilman and financier T. Boone Pickens, is awarded to a professional golfer who exemplifies Nelson’s spirit of giving back to the community. Ms. Rotner is immediate past president of the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild. Ms. Pettis is the executive director of the Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital Foundation. Ms. Venturi is the director of compassion and caring for the Desert Guild.
Seriously ill and injured children will benefit from a generous $100,000 gift to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital from Ken and Kathleen Venturi of Rancho Mirage. The money—which will be used to establish a children’s pharmacy at LLUCH —was presented at a meeting of the Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild of LLU Chil­dren’s Hospital on Wednesday, May 7, 2008.

The Venturis made the gift after Ken, a professional PGA golfer from the 1950s and 1960s and CBS color commentator from 1967 to 2002, was awarded the second annual Byron Nelson Prize by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, Texas. Since Kathleen serves the guild as director of compassion and caring, the couple selected the Hospital. The Byron Nelson Prize, which is sponsored by T. Boone Pickens, is awarded to a professional golfer each year. Mr. Venturi is the second winner of the award; golfer Tom Lehman won the prize in 2007.

The Salesmanship Club, a service organization of more than 600 Dallas-area business leaders, invites golf professionals and journalists to nominate individuals who exemplify Byron Nelson’s spirit of giving back to the community. In speaking of Mr. Venturi, Salesmanship Club president Randy Engstrom said, “He is one of the most honorable men in golf. Ken is certainly a man of whom Byron was proud and who is clearly deserving of receiving the second annual Byron Nelson Award.”

The Byron Nelson Award is given in honor of American golfing legend John Byron Nelson Jr., the PGA Tour sensation of the 1930s and 1940s who won 11 consecutive tournaments and a total of 18 tournaments in 1945.

After retiring from the game in 1946, Mr. Nelson became a golf commentator and lent his name to the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. 

In 1952, Byron Nelson took Ken Venturi under his wing to teach the promising newcomer not only the fine points of the sport of golf, but also a number of larger life lessons, which Mr. Venturi would never forget. “When I asked Byron Nelson how I could ever repay him for what he did,” Mr. Venturi remembers, “he said, ‘Be good to the game, and give back.’”   

Dale Rotner, immediate past president of the Desert Guild, notes that Mr. Venturi apparently learned the lesson well. “I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the donation and thrilled to know it’s going towards the children’s pharmacy,” Ms. Rotner said.

The Desert Guild is currently raising funds for a new pharmacy at LLU Children’s Hospital. For information on joining the Desert Guild or supporting the pharmacy project, please call Mindy Morrell at (909) 558-3560.

By James Ponder

TODAY news for Thursday, June 9, 2008