September 28, 2006
By Charlie Brown
The forecast for the day was rain, rain, rain, so I grabbed my rain gear and headed for Sugarbush Golf Course. The weather was surprisingly warm, and the wind was coming from the south. However, it was supposed to change, and cold weather, rain and heavy winds to move in.
Shawn Sullivan, Terry Kernan, John DeJesus and Keith Paxman, the tournament committee, stood on the course chatting with Colonel Mike Gately. This year the tournament hosted two teams from the military who recently returned from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the dinner both Col. Lambert and Major Pelletier gave their thanks to the participants for their patriotism and spoke of how much it meant to them and their families. While they faced life and death every day, it made a difference knowing that back home people were raising money to help their families.
The tournament is for the benefit of these families. It is a volunteer organization with no paid staff. This year $11,500 was raised through the tournament, raffle tickets, and silent auction. This raised the total over the past three years to over $28,000.
"We could not have raised this money without the generous support of the Mad River Valley businesses who donated prizes to both the auction and raffle."
Special thanks are also due the staffs at Sugarbush Golf Course and The Common Man Restaurant for the excellent jobs they did in hosting the tournament.
As the tournament got started, the temperature was mild and from the gray clouds, the sun started shining through. In fact the sky actually cleared and if by magic it was beautiful. However, as quickly as the weather changed for the good, it now changed back to thick clouds and rain.
Uh-oh, here we go, shades of the past where what started out as a fun event for a good cause turned into a battle of wills as you dragged yourself through the unpleasant weather. But wait a minute, now it switched back again to no rain and pleasant temperatures and finally brilliant sunshine for the remaining holes.
It was awe inspiring to see people like Bob Gow out there on the course. He wasn't moving as fast as the younger guys, but he sure was having fun. He was playing with his daughter, Mary, and her husband, Steve. Mary won the longest women's drive, and Steve got my vote for the most courageous. Nancy Smyth won woman closest to the pin on #8 and #11, while Nate Bedford won closest to the pin on #16. "Tunes" Bridgewater won on #5, while Jamie Barrie hit the men's longest drive.
The event concluded with dinner at the Common Man where a "truckload" of prizes and winners of the silent auction were announced. Everyone who participated had a wonderful time, so if you're looking for a fun tournament to give some of your time and money, don't miss next year's event. It will be better than ever and if you would care to help, donations can be made to VMFAF, P.O. Box 26, Essex Junction, VT 05453.