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Charity golf event to raise funds for soldiers

By Katelyn Gendron-List

Staff Writer

AGAWAM For those who say that there is little that they can do to aid the United States soldiers currently deployed overseas, there is now an opportunity to help at the first annual Massachusetts Veterans Service Officers Association (M.V.O.S.A.) Golf Tournament.

The public is invited to participate in this charity golf tournament that will be held on Aug. 3 at 10 a.m., at the Oak Ridge Golf Club.

"I want to do this because it's a good way to raise money to help soldiers and their families," Richard Girard Jr., director of the Western Hampden District Department of Veterans' Services, and creator of this tournament said. "I figure that there are enough golfers around here to generate interest to make this worthwhile."

According to Girard, money raised will go to benefit Massachusetts soldiers currently deployed overseas and their families. The funds will be used in the form of scholarships for a soldier's continued education, aid upon their return home and also to help families left behind in the wake of overseas deployment.

"I whole heartedly support this tournament and I will attend and hope that others will do the same in an effort to support our troops," Richard Cohen, mayor of Agawam said. "Because they truly deserve support from everyone and together we can all truly make a difference in helping those who are serving."

Cohen also stated that while he is asked to give to so many charities each year, and while they are all important to him, this one is something that is very special because of the cause in which it is supporting.

"No one should hesitate to make any donation small or large as freedom comes at a very large price," Cohen said.

Another member of he community that is planning to attend the tournament is State Representative Rosemary Sandlin (D-Third Hampden). While she said that she has not had much time lately to play golf, nevertheless she is hoping to get a foursome together that will be competitive throughout the tournament.

"I encourage everyone to come out and play," Sandlin said. "I think that this is a fantastic way to help benefit all the veterans in the district. All veterans need to be honored and supported."

Sandlin went on to state that she will be making a donation in the form of a Massachusetts state flag that will have flown over the State House in Boston.

The entry fee for the tournament is $99 per player, which includes green fees, golf cart, golf shop services, locker, shower, lunch and dinner.

Girard said that he is hoping to fill the tournament with 36-foursomes and the winner will receive a trophy.

There are also hotel packages available for one or two nights.

Hole sponsorships are also available, according to Girard. Red is $100, white is $75, and blue is $50. Sponsors may also donate prizes for the raffle.

Monetary donations will be accepted and may be sent to Veterans' Services Dept., 681 Springfield St., Feeding Hills, MA, 01030.

The deadline for entry is July 20.

To sign up for the tournament or for more information call Girard at 786-0400, extension 236.