Finding a Happy Place to Benefit Alzheimer’s


The podcast title graphic with an image of a white banner with red writing, "Find Your Happy Place"


Tune into this week’s episode of Money, I’m Home as Lynne is joined by her son Rob Johnson to discuss the Find Your Happy Place Golf Outing in support of the Alzheimer’s Association of September 30.


0:00:06.8 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m home. Welcome in. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. From finance to fitness, we have it all. And I’ll tell you what, we are so excited because Consumers Credit Union has sponsored for many years an event that is extremely near and dear to my heart but it’s also for so many of you out there listening, and it is called Find Your Happy Place Golf Outing. You might think, “Huh, why is that near and dear to my heart?” Because it is a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Association. I’m so pleased to introduce to you today, Rob Johnson. He happens to be my son, and a few years back, he created Find Your Happy Place. Rob, thanks so much for joining us today.

0:00:49.6 Rob Johnson: Hey, thanks for having me, Lynne. [laughter] Mom, thanks for having me.

0:00:55.0 LJJ: You can call me mom, it’s all good. [laughter]

0:00:57.0 RJ: Thank you.

0:00:57.9 LJJ: It’s all good. Okay, I’m holding up, and you can’t see it on a podcast, but I’m holding up a very special cup in my hand, it is a cup that is Betty’s porch. Betty is my mom, we called her Grandma Betty growing up. I’m going to let Robbie you take it from here, because he started an outing just after my mother passed away, his grandma. She had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. At a time when I thought that I wouldn’t find my happy place, this young man made it happen.

0:01:28.6 RJ: Absolutely. So, we’re going on our 5th year doing this, and man, is it just a ton of fun. And it is a lot of work that we put into it, but every year we celebrate the life of Betty, but we also celebrate the idea of finding a cure for an absolutely awful disease. So, what had happened was back in May of 2017, we had lost Grandma Betty to the Alzheimer’s disease. It affects everyone differently, and everyone that I’ve talked to know somebody who’s personally affected by it, just an absolutely awful disease. The reason that I had had this kind of idea of this passion to do this was, Betty wasn’t just a normal grandma to us, me and my five brothers and sisters.

0:02:08.0 RJ: So, Betty’s house was attached to ours, she lived with us from a very young age. I think, if I remember, by the time I was in first or second grade, she lived with us. She was like a second mom. The memories I mean, playing basement hockey, the milkshakes at night, and the late night snacks, watching movies down with her. I remember she showed us at a very young age the movie Misery that’s haunted me. It’s haunting me to this day, the ankle scene. The number one memory I have is, she had this loft. It was a bedroom, and in the bedroom was one of those white TVs that had the VHS embedded into it.

0:02:46.1 RJ: When we would have friends come over and sleep over, we would go and we’d sleep over at Betty’s. It was like a sleep over within a sleep over. So much fun. You are away from mom and dad, and you had cool Betty downstairs, there are no rules. She didn’t care how late you stayed up. She only had two VHSs, so if you didn’t go to the movie store to rent a VHS, if you didn’t do that, you only had two to choose from at Grandma Betty’s. You had Wayne’s World, and you had Happy Gilmore. When you’re in fourth, fifth and sixth grade, the movie that was just easy to watch and made a lot of sense was Happy Gilmore.

0:03:14.5 RJ: I grew up playing hockey, I love Adam Sandler, and we always grew up playing golf as well. We would watch that movie over and over and over at Grandma Betty’s because it’s all we had to watch. Man, would we laugh and we laughed and we laughed, and so it’s near and dear in my heart when I think of the movie Happy Gilmore. Which to this day I can say is my favorite movie of all time, I think of Grandma Betty.

0:03:36.7 RJ: When we lost Grandma Betty, I knew that I wanted to do something. There was something inside me that said we need to do something to try to raise money and honor Grandma Betty. So, I thought, well, you know what, I still love golfing, I still love the movie Happy Gilmore. What if we did a Happy Gilmore themed golf outing? Just complete fun, debauchery, have a blast out on the golf course with all of our friends and our family and try to bring people in. More importantly, all of the proceeds within this golf outing go towards fighting the cure for Alzheimer’s.

0:04:08.6 RJ: So, the way I look at it is, in the movie Happy Gilmore, Happy plays golf for his grandma. My idea was I’ll play golf for my grandma, but who could you play golf for? And that’s really the question that we ask year over year. We have costume contests, we have themed holes where you have to do a Happy Gilmore swing, there’s one hole where you have to putt with a hockey stick. One hole where you have to putt into a clown’s mouth. So, the event itself is an absolute blast, the costumes have to be the best part. You go out to a golf course and you see the button up and the tucked-in pants and a nice hat, and all of a sudden you see to the left, you see a guy dressed as Gene Simmons from Kiss, in full make-up, everything like that, it’s unbelievable.

0:04:49.6 RJ: We have just so much fun out there, we don’t take it too seriously, we definitely don’t but everyone seems to have a fun time year over year, and so it’s been great. We’re going on five years now. In 2020, we had the virtual. We did virtual because obviously, it was COVID. So, what we did was we did a Watch-A-Thon, everyone watched the movie and you had to tweet your favorite quote and stuff like that. I said, “It’ll be tough to raise $1200, and we ended up raising $3000.” So, we raised as much in virtual as I wanted to raise in my first year, and that’s when I really knew we had something special. Year three comes along, and that Shanice’s last year as the director of the Michigan chapter. Shanice comes out and she helps us and I set the goal at $8000, $3000 higher than what we did two years prior.

0:05:36.7 RJ: Man, did we knock it out of the park, and in this one, I owe a ton to Consumers, our title sponsor because they really help us as our title sponsor, get some good marketing out there and reach the right people. We raised in 2021, $13,000. We blew it out by $5000, and then last year was our fourth year and our biggest year yet where we said, let’s see if we can’t stretch this out to 15,000 and do some wonderful, wonderful sponsorships and some wonderful partnerships with Raymond James, with Top Of The World Engraving, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Grover Lewis Johnson, year after year is our food and beverage sponsorship. We set the goal of $15,000 and last year we raised $22,000. That is net proceeds and it goes directly to the Alzheimers. We take zero cut from this, the money that we raise is going to an unbelievable cause, and an unbelievable memory of our Grandma Betty.

0:06:30.9 LJJ: Robbie, I can honestly tell you that you are the very first podcast guest that I never had to ask an assessment question to.

0:06:37.4 RJ: I just kept talking, didn’t I? [laughter]

0:06:41.4 LJJ: Oh, boy, the apple doesn’t fall far, does it? Hey, you know what though, seriously, this year, we are going for a record $25,000, and I think we’re going to blow it out of the park. I do know that, hey, if you’re a business or you’re an individual and you cannot golf but you’d like to participate, we’re going to send you the link so that you can get involved. Please consider golfing. It is truly one of the most unique events, and I have to tell you, Robbie, what I think warms my heart the most are complete strangers that don’t know the Johnson bunch or they didn’t know Grandma Betty, but now they play year after year because it’s become something very near and dear to them. We actually also have memorials on the course, and so people can actually have golf signs memorializing or in honor of perhaps as a caregiver. Explain how important that part is.

0:07:34.9 RJ: That’s, I think the most important part of the entire event because we do it, when, I say we, I mean the Johnsons, we do it in honor of Grandma Betty. But when you can go up to every single hole and there’s an in honor of or in memorial of, it really hits home for what this is all for. So, when you can see that there’s so many other people just like us that have been awfully affected by this disease, I think that puts it in perspective. So, that is one of the most important things that we can do. If you can’t get out and play, or if you don’t have a business to sponsor, you can go out at the same website and it’s a whole sponsorship. When you send that and you put in memorial of, and I’ll be contacting you personally to say, “Hey, would you like a picture of that individual? Would you like one of their favorite quotes, maybe a piece of artwork that we do?”

0:08:20.4 RJ: One of the number one in memorials that we had is of the late Mr. Ken [0:08:24.3] ____, and that’s from my aunt Julia. Aunt Julian has been an unbelievable partner of mine. She’s been there since day one, and so there’s not enough people I can think on this, and I’m sure I’m missing people, but we can’t do it without the support that we have from our family and our friends, and so September 30th this year, we still have some great sponsorships available, so get the word out there, and there’s still time to register to play.

0:08:48.5 RJ: So, we’re going to be a Maple Hill golf course in Grand Rapids, Michigan this year. They’re really excited for us. Rumor is, we’re going to have Chick-fil-A, that’s a rumor. But Chick-fil-A might be the food of choice afterwards. Beer and is included on the course, which will be fun, there’ll be some waters and some pops up there as well too. It’s all for a good cause. But yeah, it’s going to be an absolute blast and we can’t think Consumers enough for continuing to be our title sponsor. We can’t do it without you and all of our sponsors, if I missed any, please, my apologies from the bottom of my heart. I can’t tell you how much it means to have the support and people look forward to this year over year, and I’m just blessed that they continue to do so.

0:09:29.6 LJJ: Well Rob Johnson, thank you so much. Listen, if you can’t tell how emotionally supported we are of this, it’s pretty big. And I can tell you that those who are listening, I know for a fact what you have gone through or are going through, if you are connected to anybody who has Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is not an easy disease. And as a caregiver, we especially want to support you. And at a time years ago when my son came up to me and said, “I’d like to help you find your happy place,” years later, he did. So, we sure hope you can join us here at Consumers Credit Union. The Find Your Happy Place Golf Outing is so much fun. Join us, September 30th. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson. Thanks Rob.

0:10:15.3 RJ: Thanks mom. I appreciate it. It’ll be great on the 30th. We can’t thank our sponsors enough and the Michigan chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, if you want to know how to do your own longest day, Kathleen will actually be out there. Kathleen is now the director. She’s been helping me the last two years. She is instrumental, she is wonderful, she’s a rock star, she’ll be at one of the holes doing some contests, maybe some Alzheimer’s trivia just to spread some awareness, but she can also give you the information while you’re there at the event to do your own longest day if you want to. Or other ways that you can give back to the association, so I can’t thank her enough, and we’re looking forward to having her out there as well.

0:10:52.1 LJJ: Hey, if you are a volunteer, we cannot thank our volunteers enough. From Austin, your beautiful wife, my gorgeous daughter-in-law, to all of the volunteers, our cousin Casey who helps on one of the holes that’s funnier than funny, you just got to come. You got to come and volunteer if you can, because you also will be part of the family and have a wonderful day.

0:11:12.2 RJ: Absolutely. Thank you, and we’ll see you on September 30th.

0:11:16.2 LJJ: Hey everybody who’s listening, just stop on our website, you’re going to find all the links that need to have a really fun day. Also to support if you can at home. Hey, Jake Esselink, thank you for your production skills. Everybody have a safe week out there, and if you have a topic you’d like to share, just send it our way, Lynne Jarman-Johnson, Consumers, Credit Union. Money, I’m home.

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