When longtime Scandia Village volunteer Donna Henning pulled her Viking helmet on, straightened the platinum blonde braids attached to it, and made her way onto the green at Peninsula State Park Golf Course, golfers of the Grand Scandia Golf Benefit knew she meant business.
With a keen eye for golf balls flying off course, the confidence to approach just about anyone, and an uncanny knack for not taking “no” for an answer, she was the perfect fit for one of the goofiest aspects of this annual outing: the selling of mulligans.
“She was up there with those Viking horns on and she wouldn’t give them an option. ‘How many would you like to buy?’ was basically it,” recalled Nicki Scharrig, Scandia’s director of resource development/marketing and volunteer coordinator. “It’s an extra chance if you mess up. You shoot it into the water or into the trees then you just pull out your mulligan.”
“That was the best part about her – she didn’t give you a chance to say no,” golf outing chair Paula Hedeen added. “And she sold them all!”
Henning did it for the greater good: to support the Good Samaritan Society-Scandia Village senior living community that she had grown to love. For 15 years, Henning was a beloved and familiar smiling face to its supporters, family and staff and could be found lending a hand in a number of ways: playing games with assisted living residents, doing hair and painting nails in the care center beauty shop, or delivering Meals on Wheels to homebound community members.
When she died on April 19, 2017 at the age of 77, it left a hole in the Scandia community and motivated its golf outing organizers to use the upcoming Grand Scandia Golf Benefit as a way to honor the spirit and generosity of one of its most ardent supporters.
“Donna brought a lot of life to it,” Hedeen said. “She had a big spirit and wasn’t intimidated or afraid and was the type of person, she didn’t really think about what did you think about her and her actions, she was more about, she cared about you and what did you think and what do you feel and what can I do for you? She had that kind of heart about her, that presence.”
That presence will be honored at the outing in ways small and large. Scharrig and Hedeen will be the ones donning the Viking helmets this year, paying tribute to a woman who radiated love and happiness, and who dedicated her days to ensuring the happiness and comfort of a community that quickly became like family.
“I remember Donna’s smile more than anything and just her contagious laughter, the way she would light up a room when she came in,” Scharrig said. “Everybody knew she was here when she arrived and if you didn’t know she was here, you did within minutes. We mean that in the nicest of ways. She was a breath of fresh air in every way, wasn’t afraid to tackle any assignment that we had for her.”
The 22nd Annual Grand Scandia Golf Benefit will take place on Sunday, July 16 at Peninsula State Park Golf Course. All proceeds benefit the residents at Good Samaritan Society-Scandia Village. Registration for the 18-hold scramble starts at 11 am and event play begins at noon. Two golfers are guaranteed to win $250 cash. Dinner and an awards ceremony follow at 5:30 pm at Alexander’s Restaurant.
The deadline to register a team and/or be a sponsor is Friday, July 7. Please contact Nicki Scharrig at 920.854.2317 or [email protected] for registration or sponsorship forms.