Friends of fallen Seaside Police Sgt. Jason Goodding remember him as someone who wanted to be an educator and guide those in need of edification, whether it be a child he was coaching or a person at odds with the law. They also remember him as a keen cornhole player.
With that in mind, nothing seemed more fitting than establishing a memorial scholarship in his name and then hosting a cornhole tournament to raise funds for it.
The second annual Jason M. Goodding Memorial Cornhole Tournament Fundraiser will start at 11:30 a.m. June 17 at the Seaside Elks Lodge on Avenue A. The event is open to people of all ages. Even those who don’t wish to participate in the tournament are encouraged to socialize and have fun in memory of Goodding.
A few months after Goodding was shot and killed in the line of duty in February 2016, his two friends Steve Kuhl, who once worked as a Seaside police officer, and Jeff Roberts, the current principal at Seaside High School, decided to establish a new scholarship for a Seaside student. They needed to raise $25,000 to sustain the $1,000-per-year scholarship long-term through Seaside Scholarships Inc., a nonprofit foundation.
Next, Kuhl and Roberts put together a memorial fundraiser, bypassing the more traditional golf game in favor of an activity Goodding preferred.
“Jason loved playing cornhole,” said Kuhl, who now works as a firefighter in Portland. “When we would go to the Ducks games, during tailgate parties, he’d have the cornhole boards out. … It was just something he liked to do.”
The event was a simultaneously somber and celebratory affair. Those in attendance commiserated together and also enjoyed the camaraderie. Because the fundraiser was primarily advertised through word of mouth last year, Kuhl said, “you had to know Jason to show up.”
“It was good for everyone to come together to remember Jason and do something he liked to do,” he added. “It was unfortunate why we all got together, but it was a good day.”
During the fundraiser, they raised a little more than $10,000. Throughout the summer, businesses and individuals continued to donate, helping them reach the $25,000 mark they were shooting for so “a Seaside senior will always have a scholarship in Jason’s name,” Kuhl said.
For the 2015-16 school year, Morgan Matthews was awarded the scholarship. It is intended for a student pursuing a college degree in criminal justice or education.
The committee behind the scholarship — which has grown to include Seaside Police Chief Dave Ham and Paul Tice, general manager at Gearhart By the Sea — have set new goals “to keep this thing going,” Kuhl said. They want to turn it into a four-year scholarship, so recipients would get $1,000 each year during college as long as they satisfied certain criteria. In that scenario, Kuhl said, they would distribute $1,000 each to a graduate, as well as a college sophomore, junior and senior, every school year.
For this year’s tournament, the committee is working more actively to spread the word. They also have secured the service of Seaside juniors Skyler Yoshino and Michael Bailey, who are volunteering for their senior Pacifica Projects and also as “a way to help carry on Jason’s legacy, and what he stood for as a person,” Yoshino said. He and Bailey met Goodding a couple times, but not enough “to actually develop a super strong personal connection,” Yoshino said, adding, “He influenced lots of people in the community I believe. He did everything in his power to help others, and whatever he could to better both himself and the community.”
“Jason always just wanted to help people better themselves,” he said. “Time is the biggest thing anybody can give, and he always gave his time for people.”
Yoshino and Bailey are helping to market the event and obtain media coverage. They also are organizing children’s activities for the event.
The fundraiser will mirror how it was run last year. The event will have a two-person, double elimination cornhole tournament run by Cheyenne Scrivner with the National Cornhole League. The prize for winning is a chartered salmon fishing trip, valued at about $600. The atmosphere is not overly competitive, Kuhl said, and “it’s open to everybody and anybody.”
There also will be live music by the band Fifth Alarm, which is comprised of five Portland firefighters; food; a beer garden; and raffle and silent auction for prizes including trip and athletic packages, rounds of golf and gift cards to restaurants.
Pre-registration, which is encouraged, is available online through the event Facebook page, Jason M. Goodding Memorial Cornhole Tournament. Individuals also can register at the door. The cost for a two-person team is $100. All-day admission to the event is $5.