18 Holes of Gratitude with Nancy Butler
Nancy Butler made Santa Clarita her home 33 years ago, back when the valley was covered in onion fields and the most popular attraction in town was a donkey farm. Since then, she’s left her mark by contributing her time and talent as an educator and active volunteer throughout the city. Most notably, Nancy parlayed her love of golf into establishing the Thank A Veteran Golf Event, the popular annual tournament for veterans at the TPC Golf Course.
The tournament, which takes place every October, stems from Butler’s deep appreciation for our service men and women. A volunteer with Battle Buddies and trained in counseling veterans with PTSD, Nancy feels it’s important to give back to those who serve in the armed forces. “They sacrifice so much for us. If I can give them one day to give thanks, then I feel like I’ve done something,” Nancy explained. “Service Members and their families put their lives on the line for us, and I try to thank them for that. I make a point when I see a service person, to go over and shake their hand and say thank you. That one little act of kindness brings them a smile, and they need that encouragement.”
A retired teacher, Nancy taught at Meadows Elementary School for 22 years, and also served as the Teacher’s Union President. A few minutes with Nancy, and it’s easy to understand why her students from years past track her down and invite her to baby showers and weddings. “I hope I gave my students a chance to be who they wanted to be, and succeed in something. I hope I gave them a love of education,” she said, when recounting her many years in the classroom. “I wanted them to know that I loved them for who they were, and wanted them to become something they could be proud of.” Nancy’s passion for service was implemented into her class lessons, adopting soldiers and collecting donations for the homeless shelter each year, in what she hopes taught her students the value of giving. Her infectious warmth and love of golf, also lead her to coach students in the Special Olympics. “They didn’t care if they won or lost,” Nancy described the participants. “They’d greet each other and were excited to be there to see their friends and have a good time.”
When she’s not volunteering, you can find Nancy on the golf course up to three times a week, shooting in the 80’s and 90’s and enjoying the scenery, the company, and the game her father loved as well. The lasting impression she made on former students and the impact of her volunteerism can be attributed to the way Nancy lives her life. “I have a very strong faith,” she explained. “I depend on that a lot, and every day I say to myself, ‘Let me go out and be kind to everyone I meet.’ I just wake up every day and thank God for the life I have.”