BRISTOL - The Veterans Strong Community Center is planning its first ever golf tournament this summer at Chippanee Country Club.
Donna Dognin, Veterans Strong executive director, said the John “Jack” Denehy Memorial Golf Tournament will be Thursday, July 25, and she is looking for sponsors and volunteers.
Together with the Mum-A-Thon road race in October, the golf tournament will be a major fundraiser for the organization, she said. “Some members on my board of directors have been saying for a year now we need to do something bigger, so we’re trying the golf tournament.”
This year the event is in honor of Denehy, a Bristol native, World War II veteran, and local educator, who founded the Memorial Military Museum at the Bristol Historical Society. Dognin said the plan is to have the golf tournament honor a different local veteran every few years.
“We want to have it in memory of a veteran who has passed and who had the same principles we have for the center - which is just serving the veterans regardless of when they served, how long they served, and even if they didn’t get an honorable discharge. I have plenty of people that come in with general or less than honorable discharges, and even a few dishonorable,” she said.
“They still need to know what other services are there to help them, even if it can’t be VA or veterans-based service,” she added. “The center is open to everyone who served.”
The cost for golfers to participate in the tournament is $150, which includes all fees, lunch, dinner, and a goody bag, she said. “It’s going to be a long day but a fun day, and Chippanee has been wonderful in accommodating us.”
Dognin said the golf tournament has various levels of sponsorship, including one called Battle Buddy. For $150, someone can sponsor a wounded veteran who needs accommodation, for example if they are an amputee or use a wheelchair, and would like to play golf that day but can’t necessarily afford it.
Veterans Strong is also looking for higher level sponsors, and for volunteers to help at the tournament. For more information, call Dognin at 860-584-6258 or Elise Savino at 860-584-6257.
The organization evolved from the earlier Army Strong Community Center, and is coming up on its third anniversary as Veterans Strong on July 1.
“We’ve been surviving as our own center now,” Dognin said. “We have a partnership with seven communities: Bristol, Burlington, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth, Thomaston, and Wolcott. All seven of them chip in and meet a little less than half our operating expenses.”
The Mum-A-Thon has benefitted Army Strong and now Veterans Strong for four years now, ever since Andy Barton took over as race director, she said. “We bring the recruiters there and try to get some of the new recruits to run. It’s fun because it’s a Halloween themed race, so we get people running in costume and we do a costume contest.”
This year it will take place Oct. 20, at St. Paul Catholic High School, with an 8K race, a 5K, and a mile walk. It will be the 50th running of the road race, she noted.
Veterans Strong is located on the first floor at City Hall. For more information, call 860-584-6258, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit ww.vetstronginc.org.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or email@example.com.