By Adrienne Fawcett
It’s been 25 years since Kevin Gorter died in a tragic car accident, and in that time his friends and family have raised more than $100,000 in his honor. They recently held the 25th annual celebration of Kevin’s life with a golf outing and dinner at the Lake Bluff Golf Club—an event that brought home friends from as far away as California, New York and even Switzerland.
“What started as a ‘keg party/let’s remember Kevin golf tournament’ has turned into an event where we’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars for hockey-related charities,” said Kent Woloson of Lake Forest, one of Kevin’s close friends.
When asked to describe Kevin, his friends said he was energetic, compassionate, charismatic, humorous, athletic and empathetic; a young man whose life had so much promise, and whose spirit has been impossible to forget.
Kevin’s death came as a shock to everyone. In 1987, after graduating from Duke University, Kevin lost his life in a car accident while touring New Zealand with friends from college. To cope with the enormous loss, and with the help of the Gorters, a long-time Lake Forest family, Kevin’s friends created the Kevin Gorter Memorial Foundation. Kevin loved playing hockey, so the fund-raising efforts focus on programs that support hockey for kids who have not had access to the sport, including:
- Hockey Is For Everyone (HIFE), which introduces hockey to children of diverse and economically disadvantaged circumstances who normally wouldn’t be able to experience the sport. Through hockey, the children get a chance to develop life skills like self-esteem, team work, responsibility, and conditioning—in a fun-filled and controlled environment. Currently, over 200 players are enrolled in the program.
- The TomaHawks Special Needs Hockey Program. TomaHawks introduces the game of hockey to children with special needs, primarily children with Autism and Down Syndrome. There are currently three teams in the Chicago area comprising more than 100 children. Each team is supported by cheerleaders who have the same special needs. The TomaHawks will be playing a Thanksgiving hockey tournament at the Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills. Their games will be played in Kevin’s honor.
In addition, the foundation recognizes the Lake Forest High School JV hockey program with a trophy given in Kevin’s name to the high school player who best demonstrates Kevin’s passion for the game of hockey on and off the ice. The award has been presented at the Lake Forest High School hockey banquet every year for the last 25 years by Kevin’s friends from Lake Forest, many of whom still live in the area.
Here’s some contact info for those who’d like to learn more about the Kevin Gorter Foundation and the hockey organizations it supports:
- For the Kevin Gorter Memorial, visit www.kevingorter.org.
- For information on Hockey Is For Everyone, contact Brit Terry (email@example.com)
- For the TomaHawks, contact Amy Lapoe(firstname.lastname@example.org.