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Friends band together to raise funds for pal

All his life, Dave Monette was active in sports. He loved playing volleyball, baseball, soccer, golf, tennis, and basketball. It, no doubt, helped keep his 6' 1" body trim, solid, and in great competitive shape. And a few years ago, he joined the over 55 softball league, Western Mass Relics. He was highly energetic and always on the go.

However, all that suddenly changed. Last fall Monette was experiencing muscle pains and no one could figure out why. The pain kept getting worse and started spreading to other parts of his body. After consulting with many doctors and specialists and having numerous tests, he and his wife, Marilyn, were given the unimaginable diagnosis. Monette has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disease that weakens and eventually destroys components of the nervous system. There is no cure for this awful, debilitating disease.

Because the disease is progressing quickly, Monette, a 45-year veteran of the printing industry, recently retired from Bassette Printers in Springfield. He's a veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces and served in the Vietnam War with over 50 parachute jumps to his credit.

To help raise funds for Monette, a group of his friends are organizing a Benefit Golf Tournament and Dinner. A pasta and meatball dinner and Live Auction will be held at Cottage Hill Banquet House, 315 Cottage Street, Springfield on May 12 at 6:30 p.m. The golf tournament that will be held earlier in the day at Chicopee Country Club, has been sold out, but there are still plenty of dinner tickets.

According to event organizer and chairman, Ed Demetrion, Monette was the type of guy who was always there to help other people no matter what. "I have never met a man who has done more for others. Dave has always given everything and would accept nothing but a nod of thanks in return. It's now time for us to help him," Demetrion said.

Presently over $9,000 in door and raffle prizes and Live Auction items have been donated. Items include two box seat tickets behind home plate for a Red Sox/Yankees game, caricature prints by famed Holyoke artist Paul Leveille, various golf packages at The Yale Golf Course (New Haven), The Orchards Country Club (South Hadley), The Ranch Golf Course (Southwick), and Hampden and Wilbraham Country Clubs. Lots of baseball and boxing memorabilia will be featured including signed baseballs, signed boxing trunks and gloves from various champions and Hall of Famers, and signed black and white matted prints from boxing champions. All boxing signatures authenticated by the Boxing Hall of Fame. The auction will be conducted by Douglas Auctioneers of South Deerfield.

Monette and his wife have lived in Ludlow for over 30 years and will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next month. Their daughter, Lynn, lives and works in the Boston area.

All proceeds from the event will be presented to Dave at the dinner to offset his mounting medical and living expenses.

Tickets are $15 each. For more information, donations, or tickets, call Ed Demetrion at 626-7737 or Dave Gibb at 596-6543.