NEWINGTON - The Newington Police and Fire Golf Classic couldnâ€™t have been more timely for Steve Madeia.
â€śYou look at what happened a couple of days ago, you never know whatâ€™s going to happen, but it gives you a greater appreciation for what (first responders) do every day,â€ť said Madeia, a Berlin resident who grew up in Newington. He was referring to the killings of 58 people in Las Vegas by gunman Stephen Paddock.
Madeia was one of several community members who joined police and firefighters in the sold-out tournament Tuesday at Indian Hill Country Club.
The friendly, collaborative effort by both departments raised money for police programs this year, including the Citizens Police Academy, the Youth Police Academy and RAD, a self-defense class for women.
Funds will also go to National Night Out, an annual event that aims to strengthen the relationship between police officers and the community.
â€śWe had a lot of participation, great sponsors â€¦ a lot of golfers. We had a great day, the course was in great shape,â€ť said Police Chief Stephen Clark, who shot 9 under par with members of the Vernon department, coming in fourth.
â€śWhen you consider what happened out in Las Vegas, the importance of supporting first responders, weâ€™re fortunate here in Newington to have that, so weâ€™re thankful for that,â€ť he said.
Eric Giansanti, a firefighter for 36 years, the last 16 with Newington Company 1, said heâ€™s never seen a collaborative tournament like this.
â€śItâ€™s a great function â€¦ itâ€™s brought our two organizations closer together a lot over the past two years,â€ť said Giansanti. He added that he â€śplayed the whole course,â€ť hitting the ball often while out on the course with his friends.
After a barbecue brunch, players took to the course, then enjoyed a happy hour and dinner at the club.
Among raffle prizes featuring a golf club, tickets to University of Hartford athletic games, a cooler and gift cards for local shops, was a 50/50 raffle for scholarships honoring Master Police Officer Peter J. Lavery, who was fatally shot in 2004 responding to a domestic disturbance call, and Officer Ciara McDermott, who was shot by an ex-boyfriend at her home in 2005. Over $500 was raised for the two scholarships.
â€śThank you all for being in attendance tonight,â€ť said Jamie DeSimone, who organized the tournament on behalf of the police department, alongside Kristen Stegmaier for the fire department. â€śI really, really, really appreciate it.â€ť
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.