LPGA tournament could be run without the dedicated volunteers who step forward and take on more than they initially signed up for.
Bruce Bennett, head of the Volunteer Services Committee and nominee for the AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award, couldn’t better exemplify the hard work of LPGA volunteers with what he does for the tournament.
Megan Herrera, a tournament coordinator, recalled Bennett’s attitude and flexibility in his role.
“I just called him asking to change something on Volunteer Services, and he goes, ‘Yep, no problem, I’ll handle it.’”
Bennett is the 10th nominee of the AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award Program in 2019.
He was crucial in the operation of the first year of the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open last season.
“Being able to adjust on the fly and be resourceful with a first-year event is what stood out to us,” Herrera explained.
The Massachusetts native developed that skillset over his many years of volunteering and moving around the country. Bennett has lived in 12 different states, yet never stopped volunteering as he moved around the country. He brought experience with the United Way, West Hills Hospital, and the PGA Tour to his Volunteer Services chair position.
Bennett stepped in last year with six months until the tournament was set to begin and this was a tight window to get all the logistics coordinated.
The 73-year-old was not phased, as he is not new to tight deadlines and long hours. When working at Levi-Strauss as an inventory manager, he once had to go in on a Thursday morning and didn’t leave until mid-day Saturday when the inventory count was finished.
He also was a Director of Materials management for 20 years in the healthcare industry.
Those are not the only places Bennett has honed his leadership skills. He’s served in the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, the Coast Guard, and the Guard and Reserve of the Navy. He was involved in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War as a paramedical technician.
Bennett summarized his experience there succinctly.
“Luckily for us, the war was short.”
He has brought all of his experience to the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open. One of the many hats the veteran wears as Volunteer Services Chairman is handling breakfast for all of the volunteers.
“He’s the friendly face they see in the morning when they show up at six in the morning. It means a lot to us,” Herrera said.
Bennett also has been leaned on for his expertise. Other committee chairs turned to him for extra volunteers when they were needed throughout the week, and he came through to coordinate the extra shifts.
He also took on more than his fair share. Monday through Sunday, Bennett was there at the crack of dawn until the day ended.
“It’s my committee; I had to fill in the vacant spots. If I don’t have the staff to do it, then I have to do it.”
The team Bennett worked with was marvelous in their first year together. With it being National Volunteer Month, he was also sure to credit the volunteer team around him in Los Angeles for their excellent work during the first HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open.
“The way the volunteers were able to work together and resolve any issues, do workarounds, whatever needed to be done, people were just jumping in to help out wherever needed.”
He helms 100 additional volunteers this year, holding the same Volunteer Services Committee Chair in year two as year one. As he prepares for another week of 12 to 13 hour days, it is his commitment to the position that crystalized him as the nominee for the first AXA LPGA Volunteer Services Award at the HUGEL AIR PREMIA LA Open.
“That is a huge commitment, and those are the special volunteers we want to recognize,” Herrera explained. Bennett takes that commitment head-on.
The AXA LPGA Volunteer Award program will designate a top volunteer nominee at each of the LPGA’s tournaments. After the 2019 season, the name of one volunteer will be drawn in a random selection. That winning volunteer’s tournament charity will be awarded $10,000 on behalf of AXA.
AXA XL, the property & casualty and specialty risk division of AXA, provides insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized companies through to large multinationals, and reinsurance solutions to insurance companies globally. AXA XL proudly serves as the Official Property/Casualty, Reinsurance, Auto and Professional Liability Insurance Sponsor of the LPGA. Additionally, AXA XL has partnered with the LPGA on a season-long AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award which recognizes tournament volunteers who have exemplified the spirit of volunteerism and gone above and beyond expectations. For more information, please visit www.axaxl.com