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Weeks golf tourney is 20 and still going strong

Weeks Medical Center employees Carl Morel, Darrell Bodnar, Dr. Glenn Adams, and Scott Howe showed their support for the Weeks Medical Center Auxiliary by golfing in the 20th Annual Golf Scramble. (Courtesy photo) (click for larger version)
June 17, 2009
JEFFERSON — Under clear sunny skies on June 6, the Weeks Medical Center Auxiliary hosted their 20th annual fundraising golf tournament at the Waumbek Golf Club in Jefferson. This year, like the 19 before it, things ran smoothly and the event went off without a hitch.

In the two decades of the tournament only once was there ever a problem, according to organizers, and that problem came in the form of some surprise snow that quickly fell one May morning to make the golf course unplayable. The event was postponed for a week and under clearer skies went off without a hitch. "I think for the first 13 years, if I remember correctly, we had nice weather. Then, I don't know what happened," said Bethany Belmore, Auxiliary Coordinator and Volunteer Services Manager. Regardless of the weather the turnout is always predictably solid with many "regulars" heading out to play in rain, cold and even snow.

The Auxiliary Tournament is a popular event with golfers throughout the region, according to Waumbek pro Larry Fellows who, on June 6, was manning the 18th tee. He chips in his time for the event by offering his swing for the modest fee of $5 to help golfers get onto the uphill tee, which incidentally also offered a $100,000 prize to anyone who got a hole in one.

While no one has ever won that particular prize, the tournament has had two big winners in its history. Gordon Ramsay, who has since passed on, sunk a hole-in-one to win a brand new car in 1995. Ms. Belmore said that Mr. Ramsay's story is the stuff of local legends. "As the story goes Mr. Ramsay didn't need a car," she explained. So he traded it back to North Country Ford, got a new truck that was less expensive and gifted the difference in cost back to the Auxiliary.

He's not the only one who's made out at the event. Jeff Gilman, who's been helping organize the tournament since its inception, said Tim Mackillop's win in the $2,500 putting contest was memorable as well. Also memorable are the close calls. There are plenty of them, and even this year young Austin Cassady, a student at White Mountains Regional High School and a member of the varsity golf team there, came within six feet of a $100,000 prize in the closest to the pin contest.

While the tournament offers great prizes and a fun day of golf in scramble format for the participants, it brings in thousands of dollars to help support the community hospital. Business sponsorships help keep the tournament vibrant and even in tough economic times, the sponsors have continued to come through. This year, Isaacson Structural Steel of Berlin stepped up as the new tournament sponsor.

Volunteer Services Coordinator/Lifeline Specialist Andrea Cotter said the event averages about 100 golfers annually, with a goal of 120 registrants. This year that goal was met. The business and private support throughout the 20 years has been strong and no noticeable drop off was seen on the part of the organizers. "It's kind of nice and kind of surprising with the economy," Ms. Cotter said. "It's been really good."

Over the course of the last 20 years the auxiliary has raised more than $115,000 to purchase equipment and other items for the medical facility. Last year's take set a record at more than $19,000. Every year the auxiliary uses those funds to purchase needed medical equipment or other upgrades for the Lancaster hospital, which is affiliated with the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. This year, their eye is on a transport ventilator, which would allow a patient to be transported between facilities while on a ventilator.

Taking the top spot in Flight A of this year's tournament was the "WintersarLongers" team of Jeff Pettit, John Kennett, Max Daggese, and Jerry LaPerle, with "The Home Pro Tace (Tim, Anne, Cheryl, Carl) Team" of Tim MacKillop, Anne Morgan, Cheryl MacKillop and Earl Brooks taking second. Coming in third were Steve Millett, Keith Colby, Kurt Colby, and John Lamphere. Winning Flight B were "Fore Fairway-Bound Foss'" Tom Foss, Chris Foss, Derek Foss and Lindsey Foss sponsored by Fitch Fuel Company. In second were "The DNR's" Forrest Hicks, II, Kolin Bailey, Stacey Hicks and Heather Bailey sponsored by Carlisle Place, and in third were Sam Shippee, Matt Shippee, Josh Shippee, and Pat Shippee sponsored by Shippee Family Eye Care. Flight C was won by "The Rough Riders" Bill Ghelli, Nancy Huntley, Don Ghelli, and Dave Ghelli, with the "Ford Fore," Keith Kopp, Kevin Kopp, John Riff and Bill Clark sponsored by North Country Ford coming in second. In third place were the "Ding-A-Lings," Pete Morey, John Normand, John Platt and Ron Lacasse.

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