Dear GreatLIFE Member, Team Members & Support Team,

Hooray we are through January and less than two months until golf season is in full swing! Even our Yankton Fox Run golf course was open this past weekend. For those lucky snow birds that are in the Phoenix area, we have three golf courses that are honoring our GreatLIFE Members with significant discounts. Those courses are Trilogy Golf Club, Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club and Mountain Brook Golf Club, thank you Thompson Golf!

Thanks to my good friend and partner PGA professional Mike Malaska who was the PGA Instructor of Year in 2011 has offered a free 7 day trial membership to Malaska Golf and a 50% discount on an annual Malaska Golf membership for only $99.99! With your membership to Malaska Golf you can access thousands of instructional videos to get your game ready for the 2022 season!

One of the foundations that I am involved in is Stand Together which is focused on communities, k12 education, businesses and government regulations. We are in the second year of their Youth Entrepreneur program in which it is in over 8 middle schools as well O’Gorman Middle School. A second program we are deeply involved with is legendary football coach Tom Osborne’s TeamMates Mentoring program. A key result of both these programs is that kids that participate in either have a +94% high school graduation rate!

Currently, there is over 1,200,000 students dropping out of high school each year, that is 7,000 students every day that dropout of high school. A big part of this dropout rate is the federal government’s model of “one size fits all students” just isn’t working. Every student has special talents and needs for them to become the best they can be. Here in SD and especially with our Sioux Falls School District’s leadership we have high school graduation rates of 83% state wide and 86% in Sioux Falls so a big “Hats off” to them! The importance of graduating from high school in the fact that 75% of crimes are committed by high school dropouts and over 80% of prison inmates are high school dropouts.

The importance of having caring, dedicated Teachers and Administrators both in public and private schools can’t be emphasized enough especially these past two years with the pandemic. Whenever you get a chance, please thank these Teachers and Administrators for doing an outstanding job in our community and state.

Having been involved with kids and young people for almost 50 years through our Burger King restaurants, now with GreatLIFE and many kid focused charities I have learned the importance of having a caring adult in these kids lives. You may never know what kind, supportive words or advice can impact not only kids but adults as well especially in this stressful and divisive environment we all are in. One of the programs that I learned and encourage is from the Marriott Hotel chain which is if you are within 10’ of someone, give them a smile. If you are within 5’ greet them as well as giving them a smile. It costs nothing but just may make their day. Enclosed later in this newsletter is a story about PGA professional golfer Billy Casper that will demonstrate what some kind words of encouragement can do.

Another important principal that we have used not only in our businesses but with family, friends and even strangers. That principal is “catch people doing something right and make a big deal out of it”. You will be amazed what it does for that person and everyone that witnesses it! It is a great way to build teams and relationships – even works with your kids and grandkids!

Thanks for being a GreatLIFE Member, Team Member and part of our Support Team. With Valentine’s Day approaching you might consider getting a GreatLIFE massage or personal training certificate for that someone special in your life. Lastly, hope you enjoy the video about hope and the future.


Tom Sr




The Power of Encouragement

An exceptional golf story that’s not really about golf… AUGUSTA, Ga. – We interrupt the pimento-cheese sandwiches, ball-skipping at the 16th and solemn walks around Amen Corner to pose a philosophical question: When finally after 46 years you meet the man to whom you owe all the happiness and joy you feel blessed to have enjoyed for most of your life, how long of a hug is long enough? Clebe McClary wasn’t sure, so as the embrace intensified, Billy Casper leaned in and whispered, “Don’t let go till you want to let go.” So right there in front of dozens of patrons, in the shadow of the iconic oak tree behind the Augusta National clubhouse, McClary and Casper hugged . . . and hugged . . . and hugged. “We hugged for five minutes,” said Casper , who choked back tears. But McClary? He didn’t even try to hold ’em back. He cried like a baby, which was not so conspicuous because as the scene played out, so, too, did the emotions of so many others let loose. “We all just cried our eyes out,” said Julia Cervantes, one of Casper ’s 11 children. On any day, Casper is a wonderful story, a righteous man with a keen sense of human kindness.  But on this cool, breezy Masters day, his story was even more wonderful thanks to a reunion with McClary, who told everyone how Casper had saved his life. It was 1968, the height of the Vietnam War, and Casper , in the prime of his golf career, was off to Japan to play some offseason tournaments. While he was there, did he want to visit some wounded American troops, who had been convalescing from Vietnam ? Casper said yes, because, well, that’s his warm-hearted nature. “I was recently asked by a man what I want to be remembered for,” Casper said. “I told him, ‘I want to be remembered for how I loved my fellow man.’ “ That day at a hospital in Japan may have shown Casper at his warmest because when he looked over at a bed and saw a young man who had been wounded to a point where he could barely be recognized, the golfer moved closer. A doctor told him not to bother, that Marine 1st Lt. Patrick Cleburne “Clebe” McClary “was ready to die,” said Casper , but something made him approach the man. “I will never forget that day,” said McClary, who on March 3, 1968 had been wounded during his 19th reconnaissance mission in Vietnam . McClary lost his left arm and his left eye and laid in that bed that day thinking one thing. “I’d given up,” he said.  “I wanted to die, and I’d have died right there if not for him.” Casper , by 1968 a two-time U.S. Open champion and one of the most prolific winners on the PGA Tour, sensed McClary’s hopelessness as he approached the man. “He put his arm around me, leaned in and said, ‘God could use you today. Don’t give up,’” McClary said. “Then he thanked me for what I had done for our country and said, ‘God bless you.’” Somehow, McClary found the resolve  to fight. Somehow, he survived, left that hospital in Japan , and settled in his native South Carolina , near Myrtle Beach .  Years went by and he often wondered about this gentle golfer who had brought out the fight in him, but there was nothing more than that. “I mean, I didn’t know golf from polo,” McClary said. But one day more than a year ago, McClary was down at his beach house talking with a neighbor, a guy named Jay Haas , telling him his life story. The left arm and left eye had been lost in ‘ Nam , and his life should have been ended in a hospital in Japan , if not for a golfer. With that, Haas’ ear perked up. “I said, ‘Who was the golfer?’ ” Haas said. “He said, ‘ Billy Casper . Do you know him?’” Haas smiled, then made it his mission to reunite McClary and Casper . The Masters would offer the perfect opportunity. Casper , the 1970 champion, would never miss the pilgrimage Neither would Haas, who competed 22 times at the Masters and whose son Bill is a regular participant these years and whose uncle, the irrepressible Bob Goalby, won in 1968. The first chance fell apart Monday when rain washed out the day’s action at Augusta National, but on Tuesday the story unfolded to perfection. Haas met McClary up behind the clubhouse, found Goalby, who tracked down Casper and then  well, it is said that Augusta National is a magical place, and here was proof positive that it is. “You never know what effect you’re going to have on another human being,” said Cervantes, who watched the emotions unfold alongside her mother, Shirley, other family members, Haas and Goalby. When finally the long, emotional hug was over and the pictures were taken, Casper and McClary had so much to say to each other. Forty-six years is a long, long time, but the Marine told the golfer that he had thought of him often. The golfer nodded, because he felt similarly. McClary told Casper that he was proud of his life. Not because of the Silver Star or Bronze Star or the three Purple Hearts that he had been presented.  It wasn’t for the book he had written, “Living Proof,” either. No, he was proud because he had heeded Casper ’s advice to stay strong and find faith in God. But make no mistake about it:  “You’re the reason he’s living. He was ready to die,” one of McClary’s friends said to Casper . McClary, a motivational speaker who has given talks in all 50 states, smiled, wiped away tears, and nodded his head. “My guardian angel,” he said, pointing to Casper . As they stood side by side, Casper and McClary threw long, satisifed looks out over the greenest landscape known to man. “A special, special place, but you need to see more of it,” Casper said, and McClary nodded. He was going to walk Augusta National, but McClary had to have one more hug and a promise from Casper that if the Hall of Famer were ever in Pawleys Island, S.C., he had to stop in. Casper agreed, then McClary started on his walk. But before he did, the former Marine reached into his pocket and handed his business card to someone standing nearby. It read: “I’m just a nobody, that wants to tell everybody, about Somebody, that can save anybody.”

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