Volunteer all-stars

Each year, more than 1,200 dedicated and passionate volunteers help ensure the success of Principal Charity Classic. Many of our tournament volunteers return year after year, traveling from all across the United States to serve on their favorite committees.

The Principal Charity Classic thanks all our volunteers for their dedication and service!

2018 volunteer of the tournament: Cleo Brown

We’re proud to recognize Cleo Brown of Urbandale as the 2018 Principal Charity Classic “Volunteer of the Tournament.”

Brown, who celebrated his 83rd birthday on October 25, 2018, serves as the Principal Charity Classic’s official starter at the No. 1 tee, and has volunteered with the tournament for 18 years.  He began when the event was known as the Allianz Championship (2001-2006) and continued in his role when Principal became title sponsor in 2007.

And golf is a family affair for Brown, too.

Cleo’s son, Jim, is the tournament starter on the No. 10 tee. Together, Cleo and Jim serve as co-chairs of the starter committee, a role Cleo recruited his son to take on about five years ago.

Another son, Jon, is an 11-time Des Moines Men’s City Championship winner and a 2013 inductee into the Iowa Golf Association Hall of Fame.

And Cleo, who grew up in Harlan, Iowa, still finds time to get in a few rounds of golf with his wife of 62 years, Katie.

As the starter at the first tee, Brown has met and shaken the hands of professional golfers he’s watched throughout the years. Many are the players his kids grew up idolizing. Brown said one of his fondest tournament memories was meeting Arnold Palmer, who “had a wonderful way of making everyone he met feel like a close friend.”

Most of all, Brown has long seen the Principal Charity Classic as a platform for his family to give back to their community through the sport they love.

“Dad has always glowed when talking about how wonderful the Principal Charity Classic is for Des Moines,” Jim Brown said.

Cleo, who is a familiar face to players and fans alike each year at the tournament, is also known for always arriving at the golf course with a smile.

“Cleo is someone who can brighten anyone’s day, and the dedication he brings to the volunteer starter role is special,” said Jenny Fields, tournament manager for the Principal Charity Classic. “It can be a taxing job, but Cleo always leads by example and brings so much enthusiasm and experience to the course.”

Cleo said that although he is excited, honored, and humbled to receive the award, it is all of the volunteers and staff who make the event so special. Each year the Brown’s love meeting new people as well as seeing the same wonderful volunteers who return year after year.

And while Brown has been a staple at the Principal Charity Classic for many years, don’t expect him to retire from his role just yet.

“Each year I say, ‘well, maybe one more year’ (and) when it’s over you think, ‘I’m not going to do this again,’” Brown said. “But around Christmas time, you start to think, ‘I’ll be there.’”

2017 volunteer of the tournament: Maggie Hatcher

We are proud to recognize Maggie Hatcher of Harlan as 2017 Principal Charity Classic “Volunteer of the Tournament.”

Hatcher, who currently volunteers as a marshal on the 14th hole, has made the trek from her hometown of Harlan – roughly 100 miles west of Des Moines – to Iowa’s capital city for the past 17 years and arrives with the energy of someone decades younger. She began volunteering when the event was known as the Allianz Championship (2001-2006) and then continued when Principal became title sponsor (2007 to present). In addition to serving as a marshal, she has also previously volunteered in radio communications and as a tournament walking scorer.

Hatcher, who will celebrate her 80th birthday in August 2018, said she’d like to reach the 20-year mark as a Principal Charity Classic volunteer.

“It’s been a wonderful 17 years, my health is good right now, and the tournament keeps me young,” Hatcher said. “We’re a family as volunteers, and it’s exciting to reconnect with everyone each year. When we see each other again, it’s like we haven’t been apart for 51 weeks. And that’s my favorite thing about it all. It’s the people, and the difference we make together. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

UPDATE (December 2017) – As Volunteer of the Tournament, Hatcher was a finalist for the PGA TOUR Champions’ Volunteer of the Year award at the conclusion of the 2017 season – and she won! Read more about this exciting honor here.

Way to go, Maggie!

2016 volunteer of the tournament: Avon Crawford

We are proud to recognize Avon Crawford of West Des Moines as 2016 Principal Charity Classic “Volunteer of the Tournament.”

Crawford, who will celebrate her 76th birthday on June 9, 2016, has volunteered at the Principal Charity Classic for nine years. The retired Des Moines school teacher can be found assisting at Volunteer Headquarters each year, ensuring that the more than 1,200 volunteers who staff the tournament stay organized. Golf is also an integral part of Crawford’s family; her son Mike, 51, is an agronomist for the PGA TOUR.

“We are proud to recognize Avon Crawford as the 2016 Principal Charity Classic ‘Volunteer of the Tournament,’” said Loralyn Werkmeister, Principal Charity Classic Volunteer Coordinator. “Avon’s dedication and passion for the Principal Charity Classic sets a wonderful example for all volunteers. We are so thankful for her hard work every year, as well as her terrific representation of our tournament and the Des Moines community.”

As Volunteer of the Tournament, Crawford will receive a commemorative PGA TOUR Champions-logoed clock gift and will become a finalist for the PGA TOUR Champions’ Volunteer of the Year award at the conclusion of the 2016 season. She will also receive a personal note from TOUR President Greg McLaughlin in recognition of her achievement.

Congratulations, Avon!