Derek Hitchner ’18 shows all of us that service does not need to be a chore but rather a great opportunity to use our passions to benefit others. Hitchner is known for his amazing golfing skills at Blake and will showcase those skills at Pepperdine University. Hitchner has helped the Blake varsity golf team bring home the state title two years in a row and he won an additional individual title last year. What is less well-known about Hitchner is that he has a strong connection with the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Four years ago, Derek’s golf instructor had twins at 20 weeks, each weighing in at just around one pound. Fortunately, the instructor’s newborns received care from Children’s and are now happy and healthy. Just before the twins were born, Derek stumbled upon a fundraising organization through the American Junior Golf Association that could connect service and his love for golf. The AJGA allows golfers to choose their desired cause and set up their own site for raising money.
There are two ways to donate to Hitchner’s cause. The most popular type of donation is to directly send in money through the AJGA site with Derek Hitchner as the memo. The second option is more of a gamble because the donor chooses to donate a certain sum of money for each birdie Hitchner makes during his summer season, which is 12-13 tournaments. Hitchner’s cause has raised about $30,000 over a three-year run from family, friends, golf competitors, and strangers. After a casual round of golf, Hitchner often meets with possible donors to explain his cause. Next time you are wondering how to dazzle the college admissions pool or just wanting to make a difference, think back to Derek. Remember how he combined his love for the sport with a great cause.