If you want to know what “The Greatest Generation” looks like in person, come to Ashland and let me introduce you to my father-in-law.
There’s not a better man anywhere.
End of it.
If you know Fred Boggs, you know that’s true.
On Saturday, this man carved out of the “Greatest Generation” surprised even himself: He scored a hole-in-one.
He launched a shot onto the par 3 No. 3 hole at Diamond Links Golf Course in Cannonsburg, Kentucky, while playing in a church scramble. His ball hit the green about three feet from the pin and neatly rolled into the cup.
His scramble teammates jumped for joy. Fred just smiled and shook his head. “It was just one of those days,” he said. “I was fortunate, lucky even.”
Did I mention that Fred Boggs is 87?
Fred is a Marine (there are no former Marines) and loves his country. He’s a patriot who wore the Marine colors during peace time after the Korean War so, technically, may not be "Greatest Generation." But he's the greatest I've known. He still serves today in the Marine Corps League that does a lot of good things in the northeastern Kentucky community.
The group was helping put a monument together at the veterans’ cemetery and guess who was carrying 80-pound bags of concrete?
When Fred was younger, he was pound-for-pound the strongest person I’d ever met. He was also the most kind and gentle person I’d ever met. He was strong in strength but also strong where it counted, with his faith and in decisions that required patience and wisdom. He has been a role model for me as long as I’ve been married to one of his three daughters. My brothers-in-law would agree with me on this one and so would a lot of other people.
The way I see it, Fred’s hole-in-one was karma for a life well-lived. He’s only been playing golf since he retired in the late 1990s and doesn’t play all that often. This was his first hole-in-one and it’s fitting that it came during a scramble that raises money for mission work in Africa through Diana Ferrell’s ministry.
It’s fitting because Fred and his wife, Alva, made several short-term mission trips to Uganda to work with Harold and Beverly Cathey. I remember one trip that was about five or six months long. We missed them both dearly.
That’s because of all that Fred and Alva do. You miss those kind of people when they’re not around.
I was so thrilled to hear about my father-in-law’s first ace and couldn’t wait to talk to him about it. He was typically humble about the shot of the day.
His scramble teammates went before him on No. 3. Gary Hensley put his tee shot in a nearby pond and Steve Cole made it onto the green.
Then up stepped Fred whose memorable shot gave him a memorable moment.
An amateur golfer’s chances are rated 12,500-to-1, according to Golf Digest. Fred readily admits he’s a duffer with a game where he typically shoots in the 90s. “I may have broken 90 once or twice,” he said.
Here’s the kicker: Fred almost didn’t play on Saturday. He told his wife he may just give the $50 to mission work but stay home. She talked him out of it or he had second thoughts. At any rate, playing was a good, good decision.
This makes the second Saturday in a row where Fred Boggs has felt humbled. Last weekend, he went with an Honor Flight group to Washington, D.C., to tour the monuments. He was moved and honored to be part of it.
“I’ve had two good Saturdays in a row,” he said. “They’ve both been something else.”
Fred Boggs has been “something else” for 87 years.
May he have many more days to be a blessing to anyone he touches.
Mark Maynard is managing editor of Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org