By Angela Rodriguez
Gordon College News Service
September 14, 2011
(This story appeared September 21, 2011, in the print and online editions of The Gloucester Times, and the same day in the print and online editions of The Salem News.)
SOUTH HAMILTON, MA– When four partners at the Robins, Kaplan, Miller, and Ciresi (RKMC) Law Firm were brainstorming how to give back to the Boston area, John Love immediately thought of the Special Olympics of Massachusetts (SOMA).
Partner at RKMC, Love knew how important daughter Special Olympics had been for his daughter and thought SOMA would be an organization that could use their money.
“We didn’t just want to start an event that will wither away, but one that is truly going to be fruitful, truly going to be a signature event,” said Anthony Froio, 47, of Shrewsbury, who is a managing partner in the Boston office of RKMC and now oversees the annual fundraiser.
Nine years ago the firm approached Myopia Hunt Club, an exclusive country club, and asked to hold their benefit golf tournament at their course, which they’ve held each year since.
This year’s event will take place Saturday, September 22nd at Myopia Hunt Club’s golf course in South Hamilton, with tee off at 11 am, followed by dinner and the annual auction in which donations are made and then auctioned off. All money raised is donated to SOMA, which is about $50,000 annually.
“The money raised goes to support the programs of the Special Olympics,” said Bob Johnson, president and CEO of SOMA. “There are 12,000 children and adults who participate in SOMA’s year round programs, with 11,000 volunteers. The money raised will be put to good use.”
Special Olympians are invited to the event to watch the tournament. Keith Peabody of Wilmington is a Special Olympian who plays a part in the tournament every year. At the 16th hole, participating teams get the chance to compete against Peabody in the drive as he stands at the tee hole, and after eight years, no one has been able to beat him.
“Keith has become the face of the golf tournament,” Froio said. Other Olympians are also asked to share their story at the dinner and auction.
“It is a well attended event, and a great cause,” said Kate Perlis, 29, of Gloucester who works at the Myopia Hunt Club but volunteers for the tournament. “The tournament fills up every year at max 120.”
Because of the Myopia’s reputation, Perlis said that this is sometimes the only chance participants have to to golf here, unless they are members. “Myopia hosted four of the first U.S. Opens, and ranked in the top 100 gold courses in America,” Perlis said. “That’s why they want to host here, because of our history.”
The firm extends invitations to its clients and friends to participate in the charity event, which suggests a $500 donation for single golfers, and $2,000 for teams of four. Donations are also accepted for the Silver, Gold, and Bronze awards, $6,500 for a Gold sponsor, $4,500 for Silver sponsor, and $3,500 for the Bronze sponsor.
“It is a first class event at one of Massachusetts premier golf courses, with a first class law firm,” said Johnson. “We have so much respect for the cause, respect for the law firm, and respect for Special Olympics.”