For five decades, Pete Korte has worked dutifully to turn his business dream Korte & Luitjohan Contractors in Highland into a tangible success. Over the last two decades, Korte has had another passion — fundraising for Camp Ondessonk, a summer camp in Ozark, owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville.
Since the inception of Camp Ondessonk’s annual golf benefit 21 years ago, Korte’s efforts have raised more $535,000 for campers to help kids turn their dreams into reality as well.
Originally set this year for Sept. 10, Korte’s annual golf fundraiser had to be postponed due to torrential rainfall. Not to be deterred, Pete and Camp Ondessonk staff and volunteers re-scheduled the tournament for Oct. 29 at the Roland Barkau Memorial Golf Course, 1501 N. Waterworks Road, Okawville. Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the contestants — over $35,000 was raised for the Camp Ondessonk scholarship fund.
Korte’s involvement with Camp Ondessonk spans decades. His children and grandchildren attended camp and served as counselors. Korte and his generous employees have donated thousands of hours of their time, equipment and construction expertise to build the camp’s shower houses and a climbing wall, installing water and electric lines, and dozens of other building projects that help camp keep tuition low for its campers.
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Korte said he hopes others in the community are also “inspired to give the gift of camp to deserving kids in need.”
In 2016, Camp Ondessonk served 2,894 campers in their summer camp, with a majority from Illinois and Missouri.
“Camp Ondessonk provides exceptional outdoor and spiritual adventures, empowering kids of all ages,” said Dan King, the camp’s executive director. “Kids nowadays are bombarded with crazy schedules, mixed media messages and technology that fill their every moment. Camp Ondessonk is a place for them to escape and just be kids in a place that is accepting and nurturing.”
In addition to the tournament sponsors, the following local companies and individuals also sponsored the 21st Annual Camp Ondessonk Golf Benefit: American Fiber Communications LLC, Guarantee Electrical Co., Jansen Chevrolet, Jim and Carol Henrichs, Jim and Kate Shively, Keeley & Sons Inc., Kokomo Joes, Lucco Financial Partners SICAP, VanDevanter Engineering, Barber Murphy Group, Consolidated Construction Safety Fund of Illinois, DMS Contracting, Gelly Excavating Contracting Inc., Highland Rural King, Imperial Ornamental Metal Co., Kienstra Inc., Luby Equipment Services, Maclair Asphalt Sales LLC, Munie Trucking, N&W Horizontal Boring Co., Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 160, Quad County Ready Mix, Rehkemper & Son Inc., Sachs Electric, Terra Properties, Tri Ford Inc., USI Midwest, and Victaulic.
About Camp Ondessonk
Since 1959, Camp Ondessonk, located in Ozark, has been offering summer camp and leadership development programs to youth ages 8 to 17. The American Camp Association and Certified Horsemanship Association accredited programs and facilities give campers the opportunity to explore the outdoors while growing in self-esteem and respect for God’s creation. Camp Ondessonk also provides conference facilities, lodging, and a variety of programs for youth and adults throughout the year. The camp is owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Belleville.