CRAWFORDSVILLE — When J.D. Taylor passed away the day before the first annual J.D. Taylor Benefit Golf Scramble, his family had a choice to make: cancel the event or carry on with it in his memory.
Luckily for the Grindle family, Taylor’s family chose the latter.
The Third Annual J.D. Taylor Golf Scramble will take place Saturday, Sept. 17 at Rocky Ridge Golf Club in Crawfordsville, and all proceeds from the event will benefit eight-month old Landon Grindle, the son of 1999 Plymouth High School graduate and former Argos High School Boys Basketball coach Joel Grindle and his wife.
Landon and his twin sister Lexi were born 12 weeks premature, and Landon was diagnosed early with cystic fibrosis, a recessive genetic disease affecting the pancreas and causing progressive disability and often early death. Now the head basketball coach and a business teacher at North Montgomery High School, one of Joel’s players and a former friend of Taylor noticed the troubles his coach was having and approached the Taylor family to see if they could help.
“When it came time to pick a family this year, somebody suggested the Grindles because their son was on the basketball team and they just said how awesome the family was,” said Jill Voliva, event organizer and Taylor family friend. “They had these two little babies born so early and with Landon having cystic fibrosis, obviously he’s going to have continuing medical issues throughout his life so they just seemed like a perfect fit.”
“The last eight months have been kind of crazy for us with Landon and his sister being born premature,” Joel said. “We had an uphill climb before we even found out he had cystic fibrosis. We were lucky to find out pretty early, but basically what it does is it just changes some of the things that we have to do. He gets some breathing treatments twice a day and gets some extra medicine and some extra doctor’s visits.
“I guess you could stay it’s a lot, but when something like this happen you do what you have to do and you survive, and we’ve been pretty blessed to have two kids here with us that we love very much.”
While the Grindles only recently moved to Crawfordsville after Joel’s two-year stint as head coach at Argos, the 1999 Plymouth grad and former Pilgrims assistant coach said the support they’ve received from their newfound community has been overwhelming.
“It’s one of those things that you’re pretty humbled by it, that people would think of you, especially because we’re still pretty new to the community down here,” he said.
This year’s scramble represents the third year of the event but the first time it has been held to benefit someone not diagnosed with cancer.
Taylor himself was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor in 2005, a tumor that was removed but returned in an inoperable form in 2009. He passed the day before the first benefit on Oct. 2 of that year, but his family and friends decided to honor his memory and carry on with the event as planned.
“He was always that kid that you wanted around; he was never the little brother that you told to beat it or get lost,” said Voliva. “He was so much fun and had such a fun personality. I know that a lot of people have said since he passed away that maybe we knew we wouldn’t get to have those later years with him, so everybody flocked to him when he was young.”
“Unfortunately we never got a chance to meet J.D., but the way that everybody talks about him, the way that people and the students cared about him and still do, he was a very, very special person and student,” said Joel. “We’re very, very honored that we would be chosen to be helped out by someone who obviously went through so much.”
The Sept. 17 scramble will consist of teams of four, costs $60 per person and includes lunch with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. This year’s benefit will also feature a first-ever corn hole tournament at 7 p.m. with teams of two at $10 a person, as well as a blood drive from 9 a.m. to noon, an auction at 8 p.m. and live music at 8:30 p.m. in addition to 50/50 and raffle drawings.
Contact Voliva at 765-366-2945 to make a donation, sign up a golf foursome or corn hole team, or want sponsorship info, or go to firstname.lastname@example.org  for more info. The event is also a public event on Facebook and can be looked up there.