Five Questions with… Dan Cashen, PDGA #2874, KCFDC #38, Philanthropist, Board Member of Ozanam, KCFDC Innovator, Co-Builder of Blue Valley Park Disc Golf Course
In Kansas City, the Cashen family name is synonymous with several things. Among these things are philanthropy, family, and, of course, disc golf. To lend background to these claims,?Dan’s father, John, started an alcohol and drug treatment house called Welcome House in Kansas City when he was still living. What started with four beds has blossomed into a 94 bed facility that Dan proudly proclaims “helps people the old fashioned way” and has never taken government funds. Indeed, Dan’s Facebook page bears the following quote “stolen” from his father, “I wondered why someone did not do something then I realized I am somebody.”
Dan and his brother Pete, a board member of the Kansas City Flying Disc Club, along with brother Joe, work at and own TMS Mechanical contractors. Both Pete and Dan have been heavily involved in the St. Judes Charity Disc Golf event since its inception (it is in its second year). Dan and his wife, Colleen, to whom he has been married for 23 years (together for 34 years), have been generous financial donors to St. Jude as well as lending their time and talents to raising funds and awareness for the case and the disc golf event. When asked how he became involved in the event, Dan replied, “A good friend called me to tell me that he was going to be working with St. Jude and the PDGA to host a charity disc golf tournament. The idea was to raise money for the kids but also [to] spotlight disc golf in [the] mainstream. [It was a] win win in my mind. The big idea was to get disc golfers raising money peer to peer. If 10,000 disc golfers raised $50 each, we [could] write a check for $500,000. The way it is working [currently] we have about 300 people raising $200k. But it’s only our second year [so] hopefully everyone will catch on. It’s a great charity–$0.83 of every $1.00 goes [directly] to the hospital. The families of the patients never receive a bill for treatment, lodging or food!”
In addition to the work for St. Jude, Dan is also on the Board for Ozanam, a local organization whose mission is to help “at-risk youth with emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities…to help them heal from past trauma and learn new skills so they can be successful in their homes, schools and communities.” Ozanam operates in-patient and day program treatment centers, transitional housing for young adults aged 16-23, who are often transitioning from the foster care system, behavioral intervention programs, professional mentors and trauma informed services to children living with their parents or in foster care. Through his work with Ozanam, Dan has run charity disc golf events at Thornfield for the past 7 years and credits Suburban Lawn and Garden owner, Bill Stueck and his wife for their support and use of Thornfield, where Ozanam has been able to raise over $150,000 for its programs.
As far as his involvement in Kansas City disc golf, Dan also has many accomplishments in which he can take pride.?Dan was the tournament director for the 1999 Kansas City Wide Open, and co-TD with his brother Pete for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 events. Dan was involved in putting Swope Park into the ground in 1981, was one of the co-builders for Blue Valley Park Disc Golf Course, and helped with both of the Rosedale courses and Water Works when they were being built, designed and updated. Dan has served on the Board of the KCFDC, and has guided many young players through the local scene. Dan takes pride in this work. “I really got a lot out of volunteering my time and resources [and] working with the…parks and recreation [departments] and developing a relationship with the crews that get stuff done. [I] love seeing new folks step up to help.”
KCFDC: How long have you been playing/involved in disc golf?
Dan Cashen:?I started playing disc golf when [the] baskets came to town, the summer between my junior and senior year in high school 1979-1980. [The]?Swope Park [course] went in the ground in 81′ and I got to help [and I’ve been] around it ever since. I joined the PDGA in 1984 in order to play in the 2nd Kansas City Wide Open.
KCFDC:?If you could only take three discs, one driver, one mid-range and one putter, with you, to a tournament, what would they be?
DC: Max weight Star Wraith, max weight DX Roc and max weight DX Aviar.
KCFDC:?What do you like to drink while you disc golf?
DC: I’m a water drinker.
KCFDC:?Whats your favorite thing about disc golf?
DC:?The people around disc golf are pretty cool. I wish more folks would find the time to volunteer, though.
KCFDC:?What one tip would you give someone looking to improve his or her game?
DC:?If you really want to improve your game you must practice. I don’t mean playing rounds although you must do that [too].