Happy Willowcreek Elementary students hold their new yoga mats, purchased with money generated from the David Bates Memorial Golf Tournament. At upper right, Beau Mooney and his son Thomas are standing next to Jessica Bates, David Bates’ widow. (Submitted photo)
VALE - Three years after his death, and in honor of his namesake, the David Bates Memorial Golf Tournament continues to help fund programs at Vale schools.
Bates, who grew up in Vale and graduated from Vale High School, was killed in a collision in 2017 that also injured his wife, Jessica. Anthony Montwheeler of Idaho is awaiting trial, accused of Bates’ death.
After the crash, Bates’ nephew Beau Mooney decided not to let his uncle’s death be in vain.
So, Mooney, and his wife, Kaysi Mooney, started the golf tournament as a way to remember Bates and also to give back to the community that raised him.
“Vale was his community and I thought he would be proud to know that he was impacting the school district and the community in a positive way,” Mooney said. “He just would have been blown away.”
So far, the tournament has generated about $6,500 for schools, teachers and students in Vale, and this year, around 400 students were impacted, Mooney said.
The tournament takes place at the Country View Golf Course and all proceeds go directly to schools in Vale.
Mooney said Country View was chosen as the course for the tournament because it was where Bates played golf.
Last year, the golf tournament was in October, but every year from now on, it will take place the first weekend of June, Mooney said. This year, the tournament will be on Saturday, June, 6.
Last year, eight applicants received grants funded by the tournament proceeds.
“We were able to fund all the different organizations and classrooms who put in an application,” Mooney said.
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Just a month ago, Mooney said, requested items were delivered to classrooms.
Vale Elementary School was one of the grant recipients, and expressed its gratitude on Facebook.
“Vale Elementary School staff and students are extremely honored to be selected as recipients of this grant in David’s memory,” Vale Elementary wrote on Facebook.
The second graders at Vale Elementary received art and music supplies, third graders received math manipulatives, and the fifth- and sixth-grade class received ten sets of VersaTiles, Mooney said.
The grant also helped fund a senior project at Vale High School, creating murals based on ideas from sixth-grade art students.
Willowcreek Elementary School received yoga mats, mindfulness and yoga activities, and storage baskets that will be shared among the kindergarten through eighth grade.
The grant paid for several small items used for home economics class, which will benefit students from both Vale Middle School and Vale High School.
The high school also received benches for new tennis courts, and money to help finish indoor batting cages, Mooney said.
The tennis courts have yet to be installed, but the hope is that they will be finished before the upcoming tennis season, Mooney said.
In addition to Mooney and his wife, Bates’ sisters, Kristine Rosenfield and Connie Schoorl are involved in bringing in sponsorships and prizes to the tournament.
Rosenfield is Mooney’s mother, and Schoorl is his aunt.
Several of Bates’ family members help organize and lend a hand on the day of the tournament as well.
Jessica Bates, and the Bates’ five children, Dominic, Jeb, Danielle, Jordan, and Darian all participate in keeping the tournament going.
At least 30 to 40 of Bates’ family members, including siblings, nieces, nephews, as well as family friends, participate in the tournament.
Scott and Lynn McKinney, the owners of Country View Golf Course, are also part of organizing the tournament, and “are incredible hosts for such a large group of people,” Mooney said.
Mooney said that in the next couple of weeks, he and his wife will start sending out letters to local businesses in towns from Vale to Boise, to drum up support for this year’s tournament.
“It is really hard, to be honest. It is really hard,” Mooney said of Bates’ passing. “His kids are like nieces and nephews to me,” Mooney added.
“So, trying to honor him in this way, there is a lot of work to it, but it is worth it,” he said.
News tip? Contact reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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