As a youngster I was born and raised in Sharon, Pennsylvania,a city of about 22, 000 people with several smaller cities surrounding. It was here that my life and really my destiny were touched by many positive influences and little did I know that many life choices and character were formed.
In our community there had lived a man and wife that through their care and generosity touched the lives of nearly every single person in one way or another. Through their foresight and care Mr. and Mrs. Frank Buhl presented to the city of Sharon and surrounding communities acreage for huge parks and also created my gift, a 9-hole golf course. Commonly referred to in my day as a young 10 year old, “Dumb Dumb”. Obviously like most children growing up in our blue collar city I could not afford the expensive game of golf, but through Mr. Buhl’s generous gift this 9 hole course was free for all youngsters like me as it still is today, and I wore out my welcome. With old Sam Sneed signature hand me down golf clubs, I would be there from 5:30 am in the morning when the sun was just perfect on summer days and did not return until the church bells rang at their 5:30 daily time. From the time I was 10 years old I knew, not only that I would at all costs become a golf professional but also how to get out of all chores to the consternation of my two brothers and sister. Yes I knew that this was my calling and having played so many make believe matches with the great Sneed and Hogan never once losing mind you, I had “game” as they say in today’s jargon. My sights were set to become the next Palmer and dethrone all current and future champions. The early influences were set in motion and with the several other very important mentors in our community whom assisted and guided me; I never looked back but just followed my dreams.
The basic point of this message is my gratefulness to Mr. Buhl and his family who passed away many years before I was even born, who had the love and the foresight to make a difference to young people in our communities. His philanthropy and Godly influence made it possible for me to capture my dreams and also taught me more importantly, Christ like character that has been the backbone of my teaching career. The Buhl family passed on to me and to countless other young and old alike in our communities, the opportunity to make a difference in “life” for every single person we come in contact with. I learned early through these gifts and the mentoring and teaching of so many others, that life is not just about us but really is about others and our influence in their lives. So for the goodness and kindness of the Buhl’s, the care for all people that live in and even pass through our communities, I salute the Godly influence they shared and continue to share with me. They have influenced me to walk for others on this earth and become the best human being, golf instructor, character developer, mentor, and friend possible. I want to personally thank God for creating such a couple willing to give, care, and mentor so many of us then and today as the gift goes on.