Danny Moores- Staff Writer
Vern Eekhoff earned an Outstanding Employee Award this past year for his involvement in bettering the Dordt College community.
“I enjoy my job because helping people out is the bottom line,” Eekhoff said.
Eekhoff has been an employee in the Dordt Grounds Department for 15 years. On any given day, Eekhoff can be found laying new sod or cutting down dead trees across Dordt’s campus.
“It’s nice to be recognized for my work,” Eekhoff said. “I never expected anything like this. I was recognized for things I do every single day.”
Eekhoff sees countless possibilities in his career as a Dordt maintenance employee. 10 years ago, he joined a team for the first ever Prairie Grass Film Challenge. His team ended up winning, and he has continued participating in the challenge ever since.
“Mark Volkers made me go back to school and take five classes to get familiar with filming,” Eekhoff said. “I even went on a trip with him to Nairobi, Kenya, and helped with his ‘Fourth World’ documentary. I hope to do more trips like that in the future.”
Eekhoff is also the inventor of an infamous game: “Barnyard Golf.”
“It originated when we had Dordt students over for dinner at our house outside of town many years back,” Eekhoff said. “We had about nine acres to put a nine hole course around. We use an 11-inch softball and a bat. You toss the ball up and hit it – unless you are within two bat lengths of the hole, then you can’t toss it up anymore. You play the ball as it lies, and you can’t move anything that may be in your way.”
Barnyard Golf found its way to the town of Sioux Center after Eekhoff moved here several years ago. The league starts on June 1, as soon as students are off campus, and plays every Wednesday until Aug. 1. The league usually plays a “best ball” format, but this past year they had their first singles match. They hand out a green shirt to the winner every year. About fifteen people participated in the league last year.
“My life is kind of like what Forrest Gump says: ‘You never know what you’re going to get,’” Eekhoff said.