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Wine tasting to support research, scholarship

Date: 1/24/2011

Jan. 24, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

HAMPDEN — As a firefighter and volunteer, as well as a husband and father, Brad Pinney always loved helping people.

Keeping that in mind, his family will host its second annual Brad Pinney Wine Tasting and Silent Auction at the Hampden Country Club on Feb. 12 from 7 to 10 p.m. Proceeds from the event benefit research to fight melanoma, the disease that claimed Pinney in 2008.

According to his daughter, Nicole Farrell, last year's event drew 110 people and raised over $9,000 for the Melanoma Foundation of New England.

"There was a warm feeling in the room, with friends and family coming together to raise money for an important cause and celebrate my Dad's memory," Farrell said. "My Dad loved volunteering his time and fundraising for causes important to him, but he also loved a great party, which is exactly what our event was last year. I know he was watching and loved every minute of it."

This year, the Melanoma Foundation of New England is helping out by sponsoring the event, which prom-ises to be even bigger and better.

While the Hampden Country Club will be providing most of the wine, this year's tasting will also feature offerings from a new local vineyard, Mineral Hills Winery of Florence, as well as beer selections from the Berkshire Brewing Company.

But the augmented beverage selection isn't the only addition.

"Our sponsors, family and friends have really come together this year and helped in a huge way so our silent auction and raffle table is going to have some amazing prizes," Farrell said. "Our featured raffle is a five-night stay in a villa at Red Palm Villas in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica."

Those interested can enter the raffle by visiting

As well as donating money to the Melanoma Foundation, the Pinneys are also unveiling a new scholarship bearing Brad's name, which is to be given to a senior at Minnechaug Regional High School (MRHS).

"The scholarship is something I have been thinking about since shortly after my Dad passed away in 2008. My Dad grew up in Wilbraham and attended Minnechaug Regional High School, and was always very involved with the youth of our community, from coaching to his work at Spec Pond to supporting my brother and I in everything we did," Farrell said. "A scholarship to a Minnechaug student is something my Dad would be so proud of and something he would do himself if he could.

"My Dad was the recipient of Minnechaug's Alumni Hall of Fame award in 1996 for recognition of his service to the school and community, so the creation of this scholarship was a natural next step in celebrating my Dad's life for him."

Students interested in applying for the award may do so through the Minnechaug Scholarship Foundation. Applications will be mailed to seniors the first week of February.

"Criteria for the scholarship will be community involvement based and will be rewarded to a graduating senior from Minnechaug who demonstrates a minimum of three years community service over their past four years of high school," Farrell said.

In all, the goal of the event is to raise over $10,000 for melanoma research and an additional $1,000 for the scholarship.

Farrell stressed the importance of melanoma research and said the family is excited to once again be involved in the cause.

"My family and I are so excited about the event this year. It is very important to us to continue to celebrate my Dad's life and educate others about the dangers of melanoma, and continue to raise awareness and help other families prevent this disease," Farrell said. "The New England states have a higher than average rate of melanoma. However, most melanomas can be prevented if caught soon enough all it takes is a yearly skin exam.

"We hope this event continues to keep this top of mind for people. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our family, friends and sponsors and cannot wait to see everyone on February 12."

Tickets are $25 if purchased by Jan. 30 and $30 at the door. To secure a spot in advance, send a check to Natalie DeAngelo, 11 Gray St, #6, Cambridge, MA 02138.

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