18 Holes of Gratitude with Nancy Butler

by | Nov 21, 2017 | Closeup

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.”  

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