JDC volunteer Leach is just a Grunt

Originally Posted Online: July 09, 2013, 9:19 pm
Last Updated: July 10, 2013, 12:51 am
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By John Marx, jmarx@qconline.com

It's a shade before 8 a.m. on a rainy, tournament Tuesday, three-plus hours into a Grunt Crew member's day. A two-person sit-down has turned into a nine-person trip down memory lane.

That's OK. It's the Grunt-Crew way.

As it gracefully strides through its fifth decade, one man -- save for one tournament -- has volunteered for every John Deere Classic. Through the ups, downs, name changes and weather of all varieties, Moline's Stan Leach has been there.

A labor of love, if you will.

"I was not at the first (Quad City Open) at Crow Valley, but I had friends talk me into going over and being a ball-spotter (marshal) for the second one,'' said the former Moline mayor, who is working his 40th John Deere Classic.

Leach proudly serves on the best operations crew on the PGA Tout, the world-famous Grunt Crew.

"I wanted to see Lee Trevino play and I did, but I got talked into volunteering and then it sort of carried over.''

There are few behind-the-scenes jobs Leach has not been involved with during his JDC tenure. While there are specific jobs for the 60-person Grunt Crew, they/Leach answer any call.

"I've had a chance to do just about everything,'' said Leach, who taught 30 years in the Moline school system and was the longest-tenured mayor in the history of Moline. "Foods, caddies, on the board, been vice chair of operations. Grunt Crew is my favorite. Why? They tell me you cannot fire a volunteer.''

One job, though, eluded Leach. One he knew he could not devote the time needed to do right.

"Former tournament chairman Tom Robinson asked me to be chairman,'' Leach said. "It's hard to do one job right and darn-near impossible to do two jobs and do them well. I loved teaching and loved being mayor. I didn't feel it would be fair to all three if I said yes. That's stayed with me.''

Leach, and the large gathering assembled to rib him during this interview, laugh when recalling how far things have come for the Grunts.

"We started at Oakwood Country Club with a mobile home with holes in the floor,'' Leach said. "We had another one full of wasps. In the old days, we couldn't get on Oakwood until 4 p.m. the Sunday of tournament week out of respect to the membership.

"I get that, but we had a lot of 24-hour shifts back then. Today, we are here six weeks before and six weeks after the tournament.''

And long, long after that.

"I do this because it's a family setting and we give back to our community,'' Leach said. "It's an honor to be a Grunt and wear the shirt, but you just don't get the shirt, you work like everyone else involved. I'm just one guy of the 1,200 who make this tournament go.

"The volunteers allow the John Deere Classic to give millions back each year to a great community. It just so happened that I was the last one standing when they announced number of years at the banquet recently. I hope that's good, it sure was embarrassing.''

It's good. Whether it's five days or 40 years, it's all good.

Columnist John Marx can be reached at (309) 757-8388 or jmarx@qconline.com.


Local events heading

  Today is Friday, Aug. 1, the 213th day of 2014. There are 152 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A mad dog was shot in Davenport after biting several other canines and snapping at several children. The police should abate this nuisance — there are about 500 dogs in this city that ought to be killed at once.
1889 — 125 years ago: Track laying operations on 2nd Avenue, stopped by the Moline-Rock Island company last spring for lack of rail, have been resumed.
1914 — 100 years ago: Bulletins allowed to come through the strong continental censorship of all war news indicated that Germany was advancing with a dash against both Russia and France.
1939 — 75 years ago: Emil J Klein, of Rock Island, was elected commander of Rock Island Post 200, American Legion.
1964 — 50 years ago: Members of the Davenport police department and their families are being invited to the department's family picnic to be held Aug. 27 at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.
1989 — 25 years ago: Beginning this fall, Black Hawk College will offer a continuing education course in horseback riding at the Wright Way Equestrian Center, Moline, located just east of the Deere Administration Center.

(More History)