Memorial Day celebrations started early for American Legion Cecil Cox Post 147 in Clovis.
The group hosted its third annual American Legion Memorial Day Golf Tournament on Thursday, which raised thousands of dollars for veterans who are being treated at the local VA hospital.
“We don’t use any of the funds for the post,” said event chairman Jim Pacini. “It goes directly to veterans who are in physical rehab at the veterans’ hospital. They take them fishing or hunting or horseback riding. Some of them get special counseling, they take them to dinners, that sort of stuff. It’s all for them.”
Although the dollar amount isn’t yet known, Pacini said the fundraiser was expected to draw more than last year’s grand total of $5,500.
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“This year we’ll make a lot more because we raised the entry fee and we have a lot more sponsors,” he said. “Our goal is at some point in time, if I’m still alive, to give about $15,000 to $20,000 a year.”
About $11,000 was raised in the first two years of the tournament, which drew 76 golfers the first year and 116 golfers last year and on Thursday.
“People in Clovis just respond to the tournament and it’s wonderful,” Pacini said. “Our goal is to make the golfers happy so they’ll come back.”
At every par 3 hole on the course, American Legion organized a game to keep the tournament fun and add an extra challenge for participants. Activities included a closest to the pin drive, a hole-in-one prize, a 50/50 hole and “the infamous Big Hat hole,” Pacini told the crowd. “If you don’t want to wear the big hat ... you’re not eligible for the prize.”
Sponsors have supported the tournament as well, including United Valley Insurance, Safeco Insurance and Central Valley Community Bank in Clovis. Clovis Veterans Memorial District donated hats to all of the veteran participants, Pacini said.
About 90 percent of participants were veterans, said Clovis Mayor Nathan Magsig, who participated in the event.
“I’ve been blessed having an opportunity to come out and work with all of you and be here just to let you all know how much Clovis appreciates the fact that the post, everything you guys are doing as a legion is amazing,” he told the crowd during the opening ceremony.
“Working with our veterans is critical on the eve of Memorial Day,” he continued. “Remembering what veterans have done. Those who not only have served but those who have lost their life in the line of duty. I look at Clovis and how special the city of Clovis is. It is a city that does honor its veterans … I’m glad that the proceeds continue to go to our local VA.”
Golf tournament results
First Place, Men’s Division: D. Wallace; R. Sultenfuss; K. Wallace; S. Showers. Score: 58 (-14)
First Place, Ladies’ Division: A. Murrieta; J. Mustachio; J. Russel; L. Vance. Score: 70 (-2)
Longest Drive, Men Under 70: Derek Martin
Longest Drive, Men Over 70: Jim Anderson
Longest Drive, Ladies: Lynn Vance