Colleen and Alvin Hebert with their children, Harper, Chloe, and Joey at the event in 2011
When UMD basketball player and history major Alvin Hebert graduated from UMD in 1997, he had no idea what was in store for him. Marriage to Colleen and a job at Cargill Petroleum in Minneapolis as an energy trader were predictable events in his plan.
In 2005, the world changed for Alvin and Colleen. Their son, Joey, was born with Down syndrome.
What seemed frightening at first turned into a blessing for their family. Their love for Joey brought them to a decision, to hold a fundraising event to help Joey and others with Down syndrome.
The Heberts decided to create the First Annual Joey Hebert Classic (JHC) for Down Syndrome Golf Tournament. The tournament, dinner, and silent auction bring their family, friends, and the community together to celebrate Joey, help build awareness, and raise money for Down syndrome.
Gary Holquist, UMD former head basketball coach, wasn't surprised that Hebert started the tournament to help others. "Alvin has always been generous," Holquist said. "He was a big part of the Bulldog nation as player and a coach. Now as an alumnus, he has stayed involved with UMD athletics and the entire institution." Holquist is now the UMD development director for intercollegiate athletics.
For five years, the JHC has sold out with 144 golfers participating and over 100 additional supporters attending the dinner and silent auction. Over the past five years, the event raised $210,000 – all proceeds have gone directly to the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (DSAM).
The day includes a round of golf, lunch and dinner, and a silent/live auction and is an all-volunteer production. Auction prizes like sailboat excursions, ski trips at a condo in Vail, and cruises on the St. Croix River contribute to the tournament’s success.
The tournament has helped DSAM bring in nationally known speakers to regional and educator conferences, fund annual conferences for adults with Down syndrome, and create an Adult Matters conference for parents, teachers, and professionals looking to gain education about how to support those living with Down syndrome.
This year's tournament will be held on Mon., Aug. 6 at Deer Run Golf Club in Victoria, Minn. For information, contact the Joey Hebert Classic Golf Tournament.
Written by Christina Higgins and Cheryl Reitan, August 2012