A special kind of birdie soared above the Snoqualmie Ridge golf course near Seattle, Wash., at the start of this year’s Boeing Classic golf tournament. As the 787-8 flew overhead Friday, golf fans below were treated to a special sight:
On the Dreamliner’s belly was an image of the iconic red, yellow, white and green umbrella of the late golf legend, Arnold Palmer.
This year’s PGA Tour Champions event began with a tribute to the golf superstar who passed away in September 2016. Palmer not only loved the links but was a pilot and life-long aviation buff who once sat at the controls of a 747 in the 1960’s.
The evocative flyover also signaled the beginning of play for the three-day tournament that brings top golfers to the region and helps the community. Since it began 13 years ago, the Boeing Classic has raised more than $6 million to support research at the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason in Seattle, and other local charities.
“The Boeing Company is known worldwide for designing and building incredible airplanes. However, we also pride ourselves on our dedication to building strong relationships and healthy communities in the places our employees call home,” Kevin McAllister, president and CEO of Commercial Airplanes, said while attending his first Classic.
Hundreds of Boeing employees and retirees join the mix of volunteers at the event each year. Some have made it an annual objective since the tournament began. Others, like Joe Dohnalek, who joined Boeing two years ago, signed up for the first time this year.
“I attended last year as a fan and enjoyed the experience. I love to play golf and thought this would be a fun way to get closely involved in the tournament,” said Dohnalek, who is based in Renton, Wash., and works in materials management for Boeing Global Services.
As a new employee, Dohnalek said he applauds the company’s support of the tournament and other local partners.
“I think it shows a dedication to giving back and improving the communities in which we live and work,” he said.
As they have in past years, members of the Boeing Employees Veterans Association (BEVA) were on hand at the USO tent to greet those serving in the armed forces during Sunday’s “Military Appreciation Day.”
The three-day tournament ended with Wisconsin native Jerry Kelly being crowned tournament champion. It is Kelly’s rookie season on the 50-and-older tour.
To learn more about how Boeing and its employees give their time, talent and resources to communities in Washington, visit www.boeing.com/washington.
By Deborah Feldman