SOUTHINGTON - Itâ€™s a fact that there are so many charity golf tournaments that it seems every decent player or hacker has a choice to play during the week, a weekend, for a good cause or just hanging out with friends.
When Southingtonâ€™s Dana Rickard decided two years ago that a small building in Hartford was helping homeless people under terrible conditions, despite a devoted and underpaid director, he decided to call upon friends to serve as volunteers. Their task? To organize a major golf tournament to benefit the Hartford Rescue Mission and raise an amount of money that would triple what Rickard had helped the local Chamber of Commerce to raise in previous consecutive tournaments.
The founder and owner of CompuMail, a direct mail and marketing company in Southington, Rickard has been a frequent player in the Boston Red Sox fantasy league in Florida.
Over the years, he befriended numerous former Red Sox players, who annually would travel to town to be the featured celebrities.
In preparation for the third benefit tournament, Rickard has again gathered a select group of people to use their specific skills to assist in the event set for Tuesday, June 5, with tee-off at 10 a.m. The committee is made up of devoted volunteers from four towns.
â€śWe needed to play the tournament at what is regarded as the best course in New England with a first-class venue,â€ť says Rickard, a former Bristol baseball standout.
The group chose the Lake of Isles course at Foxwoods, in North Stonington. For months, the committee has sought out major sponsors and celebrities and, so far, about 10 former Sox players have committed to play. They include pitcher Luis Tiant, who has worn the pinstripes of the Yankees as well as the Red Sox uniform. Rick Miller, Jim Corsi, Bill Campbell and others will travel to Foxwoods without charging a fee.
â€śThey are eager to help us raise funds,â€ť noted Rickard, who explained that the Hartford Rescue Mission is in dire need of a renovated kitchen, sleeping quarters and even an outdoor sign.
The founder and director of the Hartford Rescue Mission started in 2004 after moving the shelter from Meriden. His name is Gregory Woods, a graduate of Xavier High and the University of Kentucky and more recently, a former pro football player with the St. Louis Cardinals. Woods is paid a bare minimum and is a dedicated servant to those in need.
This venture wonâ€™t be easy and raising close to $100,000 may seem impractical and may take few more tournaments, but the committee believes the challenge is worth the effort.
Perhaps the mission statement of the shelter will inspire people to learn more: â€śThe mission exists to offer help, hope and the life- changing message of Godâ€™s love in Jesus Christ to the homeless and needy of central Connecticut.â€ť
For more information, interested golfers or prospective sponsors can contact Rickard at firstname.lastname@example.org.