"Where's Brent?" "Has anyone seen Brent?" "Is Brent over here? I just saw him."
These questions kept popping up at Vanderbilt Legends Club on Monday morning. At first glance of Preds Radio Color Analyst Brent Peterson and the way he zips around, never stopping, always on the go, you would have no idea he is a man who has been affected by Parkinson's Disease for 13 years.
A fun-loving guy who will always crack a joke, Peterson founded the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's as a way to raise awareness and help others affected by Parkinson's get out of their shell. Joking that golf was his only hobby, Monday's tournament was all about allowing people the opportunity to hopefully do the things they love again, just as he has.
"If it's not golf, if it's painting, going for a walk, water aerobics, anything you haven't been able to do before, the hope is that something new - a new drug, a new surgery or therapy - gets discovered through our efforts," Peterson said.
The First Tennessee Brent Peterson Golf Classic, which is in its sixth consecutive year, saw a morning and afternoon wave of golfers which included celebrities such as Preds alumni J-P Dumont, Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton and Preds players, including newly named captain, Mike Fisher. With breakfast provided by Dunkin' Donuts and lunch served by Famous Dave's, all participants were prepared to hit the course and raise money for a great cause - not before hitting the Nike pop-up store first, where each player was awarded $100 store credit to use as they wish.
When asked if he was ever concerned he wouldn't be able to play golf again, Peterson offered a self-deprecating answer.
"Play good golf, maybe," he said with a laugh.
Peterson had some initial concerns about playing again, but after his Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery (DBS) to help alleviate some of his symptoms and the positive way is brain responded to treatment, he's been able to hit the links along with everybody else. Brent isn't limited or defined by Parkinson's, but uses his career with the Preds as a platform for change and awareness of the disease.
The golf tournament sold out as fast as Brent jetted around the golf course, which is a testament to Nashville's and the Nashville Predators' overwhelming support of Peterson over the past 13 years.
"It's pretty amazing that this many people from all walks of life want to come out and support us, and support our foundation and the Nashville Predators Foundation," Peterson said.
Partnering with the Nashville Predators Foundation has allowed for the excitement to build and awareness to rise each year.
"Working with Brent and his foundation brings in great energy and great partners," Senior Director of Community Relations Rebecca King said. "We have a lot of people that come back year after year, and each year we bring in new partners that are excited about this event."
The Nashville Predators Foundation is able to support and partner with different organizations each year, as their mission statement is intentionally left general.
"We benefit youth and families, which means we can work with hundreds of organizations every year," King said. "It's limitless."
The giving continues Tuesday evening at Bridgestone Arena with the First Tennessee Petey's Preds Party, which includes an elegant dinner buffet, dessert, soda, beer and wine. Guests will enjoy keynote speakers and entertainment from comedian Ryan Hamilton as well as world-class live and silent auction items.
For more information on the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson's, please click here. For the Nashville Predators Foundation, click here.