TOWNSEND -- Over the last few years, early death from cancer has visited the Townsend Fire/EMS Department. First Capt. William Hamilton was downed by pancreatic cancer. Two years ago, Lt. Donald Amadon succumbed to colon cancer.
"We're all pretty close. We grew up together," said Lt. Bill Elliott. He, along with a team of other firefighters and emergency medical service members, are organizing the third Townsend Fire-EMS Relief Association Golf Outing to honor and remember their fallen comrades.
"All proceeds will benefit the Massachusetts General Hospital Pancreatic and Colon Research Center," he said.
The organizers are very pleased with the ongoing success of the tournament held at the Townsend Ridge Country Club. In just two years, they have donated $30,000 to the research center. Last year, the event was filled to capacity. Late registering teams had to be turned away.
Mass. General signed on as the main event sponsor last year. Not only does the prestigious hospital provide assistance organizing and promoting the event, it sends a four-member team to play during the tournament. Anyone from a doctor to someone on the administrative staff might take part, Elliott said.
Golfers do not have to be a member of a team to play the afternoon of Sept. 7. Filling out a form available online will set solo players up for the day. "They can just send it in and they'll be teamed with someone else," he said.
"Put a team together. Don't wait till the last second. We'd like people to come out and help. It's a cause that affects everybody in town," Elliott said.
The $115 entry fee covers not only a round of golf, but also a shared golf cart, complimentary driving range balls, the firemen's chicken barbecue, a sleeve of golf balls and a golf towel.
Wachusett Brewery has donated cases of beer. At two holes along the course, golfers will be offered a beer, water or soft drink.
Townsend Ford, for the third year in a row, is offering an F150 pickup truck as a prize for a hole-in-one. No one has yet won a truck during the tournament. "Tom Cleary (owner of the dealership) said they would do it each year. That's a nice thing," Elliott said.
The golfer getting closest to the pin and with the longest drive will also win prizes during the tournament. A raffle and silent auction of sports memorabilia will be held during the meal.
Nongolfers can get in on the festivities, too. When registering, competitors can sign friends and family members up for the meal at $10 per ticket.
For $100, individuals or businesses can sponsor a tee and have a sign placed nearby. The driving range is the big sponsorship, Elliott said. A large sign in the visible area costs $500.
The firefighters will cook the meal and Bailey's Bar and Grille will provide table settings and bar service. Bailey's manages the food service at the club.
"They're nice people. They really are. They wanted to do more for us and we had to slow them down," Elliott said.
The Fire/EMS Relief Association will donate the proceeds to Mass. General, and keep a small percentage, under 20 percent, to get the ball rolling for next year. "You have to have up-front money," Elliott said.
The event and the check presentation are part of the glue that keeps the families and firefighters together. Some family members will be at the tournament and some will be present when the donation is made.
"It means a lot to us because when we turn in that check we make sure both families are there," he said.
For information on registering for the Sept. 7 golf outing, visit http://tfdemsgolf.com/.
Those interested in volunteering can contact Brett King at 978-423-5323 or Bill Elliott at 978-597-6712.