Mayors tee off for Boys and Girls Club

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Boys and Girls Club of Bristol Family Center hosted the 20th annual Mayor’s Cup Golf Outing on Monday, July 16, at Chippanee Country Club, 6 Marsh Rd.

One-hundred-forty-four golfers took to the 18 hole green to raise funds to support the programming the Boys and Girls Club offers across its 12 Bristol locations. By the end of the day, $72,000 was raised, according to Sarah Lucian, director of development and marketing at the BBGC.

Lucian said the first place winning gross team was Atlantic Precision Spring— comprised of Brian Fries, Adam Ward, Neil Fries, and Steve Phelps. The first place net team was from Enterprise— comprised of Mike Eward, Art Baker, Dan Wilson, and Jon Skidmore. Tom Zipp won the closest to the pin contest, and Rich Skelenka was the longest drive winner.

Co-chairs Tony Mattioli and Dave Hrdlicka have been running the tournament since it began, approximately 20 years ago.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year, we have 144 golfers… we have tremendous sponsors… and it’s a fun event too,” said Mattioli. “You can expect to see a lot of fun, a lot of camaraderie, a lot of competitiveness, and then a great social and get together this evening for dinner and our raffle.”

Mattioli said the funds raised will go directly into the Boys and Girls Club, 255 West St., and that Bristol citizens “owe it to themselves to get down there and check out this place, it’s a hidden gem for our community, and it helps these kids; that’s what it’s all about.”

Daneirys Rivera, 2018 Youth of the Year, and club member, Brianna Parker, volunteered to assist during registration, and oversaw the putting contest.

“Everything that comes in today is going to go straight into funding the club,” said Rivera.

Parker, who has been a member since 2014, is also a member of the Keystone Auxiliary program, which promotes volunteerism.

“[Keystone Club members], whenever we get a chance to volunteer, we’re always at it,” said Parker. “I think it’s important because we should be all involved in our community and we should help each other out, especially because we’re in Keystone and that’s what we do,” said Parker.

The tournament’s name, the Mayor’s Cup Golf Outing, can be traced back to the founding of the event, when Art Ward was the mayor, from 2007 to 2013, who was a member of the Boys Club in his youth.

“(T)hey were going to call it the ‘Mayor Ward Tournament,’ and I said “No, if you call it the Mayor’s Cup, then you can do it regardless of who’s in office, and it blossomed with people supporting it and the Boys Club, and it’s grown to a sell-out every year,” said Ward. “I think it [the tournament] is great because you can see the activity of everyone, concerning the boys, girls, youth of Bristol, and I think it takes people out of their normal element, and puts them in an element where they know that what they’re doing makes a difference.”

Former mayor Ward also was joined by past mayors John Leone, Mike Werner, William Stortz, and current mayor, Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.

“Having worked for the Boys and Girls Club for three years, I am well acquainted with all the good work that they do across socioeconomic lines to bring quality programs and sport events, teams, to kids from all corners, as well as a regional basis,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “I think that any program, including their tech programs, that can inspire confidence and help kids build friendships across neighborhoods and schools are a huge benefit for the community.”

The golf outing had many sponsors, including presenting sponsor, Conveyco Technologies; raw bar sponsor, ESPN; raffle sponsor, Atlantic Precision Spring, Inc.; lunch sponsor, Starkweather & Shepley Charitable Fund, and more.

Raymond Cocozza, president and CEO of Conveyco, was just one of the 144 golfers to try their hand at the course.

“We’ve seen the impact that it makes…, and the privilege to get to meet some of the kids that have gone through the program, and watch them grow into amazing young adults and talk about how impactful the Boys and Girls Club was to their lives, it’s very touching and it’s nice to see your resources go directly back into the community and make an impact,” said Cocozza.

ESPN was represented by four members of their security team, led by security supervisor, Sean Malenfant.

“We do a lot with the Bristol Boys and Girls Club, this is one of the fun things that we get to do with the team and with the Bristol Boys and Girls Club and it’s a great experience for our folks here,” said Malenfant.

“[I want to] give my sincere thanks to the mayors, to the city, to all of the people that support us, and most of all to the incredible staff that we have in 12 sites around the city, serving up to 1,000 kids a day,” said Michael Suchopar, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club at Bristol Family Resource Center, “they really have an incredible impact on the lives of our children, and thanks to the kindness of the people that support us, that’s how we get it done, so, thanks to everybody in the community, and most of all, like I said, to our wonderful staff.”

Comments? Email tmurchison@BristolObserver.com.

Bristol Boys and Girls Club staff and volunteers with former mayor Art Ward, third from the right, at the Mayors Golf Cup fundraiser at Chipanee Country Club last Monday. From the left, Abby Hadlock, Sarah Lucien, Ward, and Judy Murrone. (JANELLE MORELLI)

Some of the former city mayors and current mayor who attended the fundraiser. From the left, Mike Werner, John Leone, Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, William Stortz, and Art Ward. (JANELLE MORELLI PHOTO)