Pictured left to right: John Myers, Tom Berning, Suzy Berning and Tom Broge


Fore! Honoring a Friend’s Memory

Woolpert Spotlight on Service

Often, when a family member or close friend passes away, we are left wondering how best to keep them in our hearts, remember their impact on us and ensure the importance of their life accomplishments.

Tom Berning, a service line technical advisor in Woolpert’s Cincinnati office, didn’t have to wonder how he could honor the memory of his close friend of more than 10 years, Chris Hockney. He knew exactly what to do.

“My wife Suzy and I founded the Chris Hockney Memorial Scholarship and Golf Outing in 2012 after Chris passed away unexpectedly from cancer,” Berning said. “Together, we wanted to do something to remember him, and the answer was quite easy—his passion was golf.”

Focused on helping young people, the Bernings used all the proceeds from the golf outing to fund a scholarship in Hockney’s name for outstanding senior golfers at Sycamore High School, Hockney’s alma mater.

During the first five years of the event, Berning said they paired the golf outing with an after-party featuring a silent auction, dinner and live entertainment. Such a large undertaking enabled them to award $3,500 in scholarships to six of the top male and female student golfers each year.

“However, with just Suzy and me coordinating all of the details, the amount of work we put into running the outing was overwhelming. We opted to scale back to just a golf outing,” he said.

They also decided to award a single $500 scholarship to the top senior golfer with the best GPA. The scholarship funds are raised through hole sponsors, donations, a split-the-pot raffle and registration fees.

Berning said the most rewarding part of the memorial golf outing has been “personally presenting the scholarships and receiving thank-you letters from students and their parents.”

Despite the work involved, the Bernings are proud of the event and happy that so many others help support local students while honoring Hockney’s memory with a fun day on the links.

The 2019 Chris Hockney Memorial Golf Outing was held on August 3 at the Avon Fields Golf Course in Cincinnati. Participants enjoyed beautiful weather and great golfing while raising enough money to fund the 2020 scholarship.

Next year’s outing is tentatively scheduled for August, with more details to come in the spring. Berning also stated that some minor changes will be made to the scholarship program in 2020.

Tom Berning