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Benefit honors memory of Wilbraham resident

Date: 1/23/2012

Jan. 23, 2012

By Chris Maza

WILBRAHAM — Three years ago, Wilbraham resident Brad Pinney lost his battle with melanoma.

Since then, his family has taken it upon themselves to help make sure no one else has to.

The third annual Brad Pinney Wine Tasting and Silent Auction will take place on Feb. 11 from 7 to 10 p.m. at Elmcrest Country Club, 105 Somersville Road, East Longmeadow.

“This event embodies everything my dad was 100 percent in support of — giving back, raising money for an important cause, drinking wine, winning prizes and a great party,” Nicole Farrell, Pinney’s daughter, said.

Proceeds from the wine tasting will benefit the Melanoma Foundation of New England as well as the Brad Pinney Community Involvement Scholarship. In the first two years of the event, more than $23,000 has been raised for the foundation’s melanoma prevention programs.

“We hope to raise an additional $15,000 for the Melanoma Foundation of New England,” Farrell said. “We are also continuing to participate in the Minnechaug Scholarship Fund with the Brad Pinney Community Involvement Scholarship. Last year a $1,000 scholarship went to a graduating senior who demonstrated exceptional community involvement, and we will have the same $1,000 again this year.”

After hosting the event at the Hampden Country Club the past two years, the family was forced to look for a new venue upon its closing.

“My dad loved to give back to his local town establishments so when we were looking for a new venue for this year, we immediately thought of Wilbraham Country Club,” Farrell explained. “Wilbraham, however, does not have the capacity for the number of people we typically have, and Brian and Mary Scully who run both Wilbraham and Elmcrest, suggested Elmcrest Country Club instead.”

This year’s tasting will feature samples from regional and global vineyards as well as beer samples from Harpoon Brewery, vodka from Hammer and Sickle and tequila from Dos Lunas.

Silent auction items include a round-trip flight to Florida, an iTouch, a Kindle, Boston Celtics tickets, a stay at the Taj Hotel Boston and gift cards to Max’s Tavern.

Tickets are $25 per person with group rates available this year. Blocks of five tickets are $110 or blocks of 10 tickets are $200. To order tickets, send a check made out to the Melanoma Foundation of New England to Farrell at 3 Chilton Ave., Kingston, MA 02364.

“We will not be issuing paper tickets but your name will be added to the list at the door,” Farrell explained.

Those who cannot attend, but wish to support the cause may do so by visiting

Farrell credited the community with the overwhelming success of the fund-raiser thus far and said she expects it to be a success once again.

“This event would not be possible without the tremendous support the community has given us,” she said. “Last year at our second event we had 200 friends, family, friends of friends and people from the community who once knew my dad come together to support this cause and celebrate his life. It has meant so much to our family that the community is helping to keep his legacy alive.”

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