JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) A new golf tournament is up and running all to remember a local fallen firefighter. Blue Lakes Country Club hosted the Ryan Franklin Memorial Golf Tournament for first responders, giving them a chance to play golf at one of the nicest courses in Idaho.
Jesse Vierstra, lead director of the Ryan Franklin Memorial Golf Tournament explained, "he was my basketball coach and good friend for a good chapter of my life."
"He's left a large void. He was a great leader, very knowledgeable, great family man. He's been hard to replace, we do miss him," added Mitchell Brooks, Twin Falls Fire Department Battalion Chief.
It's been more than two years since Ryan Franklin's death. He left behind his wife Amie and four children. Vierstra said, "that is something that is hard to get over, but at the same time, the reason we're doing this, is to not remind her of that situation, but to show that we still remember, he still matters and we still want to do good things."
Franklin worked for the Twin Falls Fire Department. Brooks explained. "the day he died, we were actually conducting a large scale drill with area first responders. When we got the news, we terminated the drill."
The Ryan Franklin Memorial Golf Tournament allows first responders to golf Blue Lakes for free, as a way of saying thank you for their service.
"This brings his name back to the forefront, celebrate what he was here for, what he meant to the community," said Brooks.
Firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics can enjoy a day of golf and competition. Twin Falls County Sheriff's deputy Matthew White commented that his play was "not very good, but we'll have fun with it." Brooks exclaimed, "I got Chief Kenworthy and my son Mitchell Jr on the team, we got a ringer of a team I expect to win this thing."
All while keeping his memory alive. "My golf game isn't compared to his, I wish I could have got some lessons from him."
In the end, it was the Twin Falls Police Department that won the tournament: Anthony Barnhart, Matt Hicks, Brandon Stotts and Craig Stotts all participating. This year they handed out first and second place trophies. But organizers hope to have a rotating trophy between the agencies for years to come.
Numerous sponsors stepped in to make the event possible. They were: Agri-Stor, Quigley’s, Warner Electric, Gietzen Electric, Middlekauff, Farm Bureau, Cornerstone Custom, Bill’s Fencing, Precision Aviation, Scarrow Excavation, Franklin Building Supply, KMVT, Hale Cattle Co, S and G Custom, ICCU, Watertech, St. Luke’s and Plant Therapy.