One of the state’s most important benefit golf tournaments is set for Saturday, Aug. 23 at Connecticut National Country Club in Putnam, Conn.
Why, though, is an event to help a Rhode Island-based non-profit being played in Connecticut?
“The people at Connecticut National Country Club have really, really extended themselves for us in years past,” said Vin LaFazia, chairman of the Johnston Memorial Cancer Events. “And the owners are thrilled with what this tournament means for veterans.”
Equally important, as LaFazia pointed out the other day, is the fact that “not many golf courses anywhere are willing to hold any kind of benefit tournament on a Saturday.”
Thus, it’s all systems go for the third annual Operation Stand Down Rhode Island (OSDRI) Golf Tournament that is again being chaired by the incomparable John Furia, a Vietnam veteran whose committee has worked tirelessly in the past few months to ensure the 2014 event’s success.
“We are hoping that we get a sellout field [of 144 golfers],” Furia said. “Operation Stand Down has been serving veterans since 1993. We’d like this year to be our biggest and most productive campaign ever.”
Furia and LaFazia – who is also a Vietnam veteran – along with OSDRI Executive Director Erik B. Wallin Esq. want people to know just how much the golf tourney helps the non-profit in its ongoing effort to help all veterans.
“Operation Stand Down is the primary non-profit resource for homeless and low-income veterans in Rhode Island,” said Anthony DeQuattro, the organization’s chairman and president. “Our group accomplishes its mission of combating homelessness among our veterans in many ways.”
DeQuattro, who works out of OSDRI’s headquarters at 101 Hartford Ave. in Johnston, then listed three major things that the non-profit does to help those vets.
The first is development and management of six – and soon to be seven – transitional and permanent housing facilities. The second is annual sponsorship of the highly successful “Stand Down Weekend” outreach event that meets the basic human needs of veterans who are homeless or on the verge of becoming so.
And the third is, as DeQuattro pointed out, “direct veteran supportive services accomplished through the efforts of our case workers in the areas of food, clothing, transportation, employment, patient advocacy and legal services.”
Furia, meanwhile, announced ways people can help the program without even swinging a golf club.
“We’d like people to sponsor a tee for $50 as a business, living veterans, someone who is currently in active (military) duty or in memory of someone who has served out country,” Furia explained. “Those tee signs will be on display during the tournament.”
The entry fee for the golf tournament is only $100 and includes registration and lunch, a scramble start for the 18-hole event, a cart and the post-tourney awards dinner.
Furia and his volunteer committee are also working to secure items and prizes for the always fun-filled post-tourney auction and raffle.
Anyone who’d like to play in the tourney, purchase a tee sign or help with the post-golf event should call Linda LaFazia, Vin LaFazia’s wife who is also working with the committee, at 401-233-2564.
Golfers may also register by sending their foursome’s name – including captain – along with address, telephone number and email to Linda LaFazia, 33 Killian Road, Johnston, RI 02910. Furia may be reached at 401-284-3206.
Major corporate sponsorships range from $500 to $1,000, and people interested should call DeQuattro at 401-345-7505. Aug. 15 is the deadline for all golf registrations.