FARMINGTON - A prediction of thunderstorms on Monday didn't stop The Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce's 26th Annual Golf Tournament from getting underway. President and CEO Cindy Bombard said the tournament was always going to take place rain or shine.
The tournament is one of two major “fund and friend-raisers” that the chambers organize every year. The other is their Annual Dinner.
“It's not just a fundraising event. It’s a social event where everybody gets to meet everybody. And they give money back to [programs the chamber funds],” said John Leone, former president of the chamber for 19 years. “It’s important for the chamber to continue to bring people together in these kinds of affairs where you meet a lot of people, a lot of networking going on, and you have fun.”
The money raised goes back into community efforts, including holiday lights, the Mum Festival, the flagpole grant and other nonprofit organizations within the city of Bristol. The chamber also sponsors concerts on the green with Rockwell Park and other parks and gives high schools donations.
“It’s a positive way that our membership realizes the value of a chamber of commerce, of what we do for the community, but not only that, what value we bring to the businesses. Without a strong business community, you won’t have a strong community because it supports each other,” Bombard said.
“The only way we are able to do that is through the help of our fundraisers. Besides doing what we need to do for our offices, we also reach out to help the community, not just the Bristol area. We actually help the region,” Bombard said.
The Tunxis Country Club with its 18-hole course hosted the lunch, dinner and the tournament for the chamber and over 162 guests, most of whom were from chamber member businesses.
Among the guests were Leone and Anthony Mattioli, currently a commercial loan officer at Thomaston Savings Bank, both of whom were previous chamber presidents.
“That shows you the dedication that they still come back,” Bombard said. “The numbers have changed, but a lot of the companies and faces are the same.”
Leone and Mattioli, who have been going to the golf tournament since before its current version, recalled some of their favorite memories: from hole-in-ones, causing them to give away two to three cars over the years - saying, “thank god we had insurance” - to bears roaming the golf course.
The day concluded with dinner, raffles and awards. The hole-in-one prizes this year included two $10,000 Harley Davidson motorcycles and two cars.