Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Swing Fore Recovery Swings Through Hail, Wind and Graupel
Wool caps came in handy for the team featuring Dillon Witmer, Daniel Hollis, Hunter Storey and Jon Verhaeghe.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019


They endured rain, gusts of wind that knocked “perfect” balls off course, bright sunshine, unseasonably cool temperatures and hail that temporarily left the greens as white as their golf balls.

But they a stiff upper lip, just like the hardy Scotsmen who invited the game of golf. And, in the end, some of those in NAMI’s Swing Fore Recovery golf tournament were even rewarded with a rainbow arching over Elkhorn Golf Course.

Of course, there was also the satisfaction of knowing they were golfing for a cause, as well—that of ensuring friends and relatives had the tools for mental health.

Tim Graves drives the ball.

“I have to go home and take a hot shower,” said Carrie Morrow, who looked every bit the part of a Scottish golfer with her tam and wool poncho. “But what a fun day! It was sunshine, driving rain and hail—enough that we had to sit in the cart for a few minutes. We even saw lightning—and a bunny.

“But I wouldn’t have missed it. I think NAMI is one of the best organizations in the valley. We need to treat mental illness like physical illness. We need to be aware of it and talk about it and help people when they’re having some struggles. And NAMI helps with that.”

David Lipman, who just returned from a golfing outing marking his 50th birthday in Scotland echoed her words.

“This weather wasn’t as bad as that in Scotland. We had one day that was unplayable due to the rain. It was fun there, though. The links there you need to keep the ball low, and scoot along and let it roll.”

The team featuring Marc Reinemann, Drew Carlson, Tim Graves and Paul Willis finished third.

NAMI’s fourth annual Swing Fore Recovery sold out with a waiting list for the first time this year.

“You can feel really good about participating,” NAMI’s Board President Daniel Hansen told golfers as they assembled at the Elkhorn clubhouse following Friday’s tourney. “Participating shows your support for talking about mental health and mental health issues. And it helps make the programs we offer free and accessible for those who need our programs.”

There were only five support groups when the Swing Fore Recovery started four years ago, added NAMI-WRV’s Executive Director Christina Cernansky. Now there are 21 monthly support groups, including the Bluebirds afterschool programs for high school and middle school students.

Amber Leyba-Castle, who started the groundbreaking Bluebirds while a sophomore at Wood River High School, is now a freshman majoring in psychology at Idaho State University. And she was just nominated to the inaugural NAMI National Youth Council, which will convene in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 28.

Page Klune, NAMI’s vice president, was thankful she’d bundled up. “But we played right through the hail that covered the ground.”

In addition, she is joining Cernansky on the NAMI Idaho board.

Cernansky, meanwhile, has been appointed co-chair of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Action Collective, the state task force on suicide prevention.

The Collective, a public-private partnership involving such groups as St. Luke’s, is trying to improve data collection, communication between various suicide prevention groups in the state and offer more suicide prevention training throughout the state, said Cernansky.

“Without your support I wouldn’t have been able to continue this work,” Cernansky told the golfers.

Paul Willis watches his ball sail across the green grass lined by aspen trees that are just starting to change.

The Swing Fore Recovery golf tournament is held during National Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month. Many of the holes displayed placards remembering those who have been lost to suicide.

“I can’t believe how much Christina and I have been able to accomplish this past four years since the first golf tournament,” said Leyba-Castle, whose Bluebirds was the first organization of its kind in the nation and since has served as a model for others.

“From recovery to advocacy, helping others after getting through crisis—that is the NAMI peer support model. And now we can share what we’ve been doing in the wood River Valley with other communities. We are living examples of how recovery IS possible.”


First—Doyle Rundell, Conor Quinn, Maunsel Hickey, Josh Ehleringer

Second—Mitch Hoffman, Dakota Hoffman, Dakota Dryer, Jason Bell

Third—Tim Graves, Marc Reinemann, Paul Willis, Drew Carlson

Closest to Pin 3—Doyle Rundell

Closet to Pin 11—Lori Ransohoff

Longest Drive on 8—Happy Hawn

Longest Drive on 18—Josh Ehleringer


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