112 golfers and other contributors show support for United Way

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Brett Decker, club manager at Shelridge Country Club, explains the rules to 112 golfers in their carts, waiting to tee off.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 10 June 2024 at 11:41 am

MEDINA – Orleans County United Way’s annual golf tournament on Friday at Shelridge Country Club was one of the most successful in its history, with 112 golfers.

Winning teams were Dan Roesch, Jomo Modcamore, Eric Jaska and Scott Pussay (59), first; Lionel Rhim, Donnell Holloway, Tom Hungerford and Brian Cline (63), second; and Bob Hursey, Chad Hursey, Greg Poltorak and Alex Bateman (64), third. Winners received gift certificates to the pro shop.

The event was considered a sellout, and United Way’s board president Jodi Gaines, executive director Nyla Gaylord and tournament chair Dean Bellack all expressed their thanks and appreciation to sponsors, volunteers and golfers.

Gaines was the first to welcome golfers to the tournament, which this year celebrated the 60th anniversary of United Way.

“Our agency impacts thousands of people every year in Orleans County,” Gaines said.

She also stressed that every dollar raised in Orleans County stays in the county.

Gaylord explained how United Way has changed and diversified in Orleans County, especially after Covid impacted workplaces and employee donations.

“We have changed our base of funding,” Gaylord said. “We not only rely on donations, but we are pursuing grants and other means of funding.”

(Left) Dean Bellack, left, chair of United Way’s golf tournament, chats with golfer Tim Winters, CEO of WNY Energy, one of the tournament’s sponsors. (Right) Nyla Gaylord, right, executive director of United Way of Orleans County, welcomes golfers, as board president Jodi Gaines stands by  after she thanked golfers, sponsors and volunteers.

The United Way golf tournament is not only a major source of funding, but a long-standing tradition. In the first years of the golf tournament, it was known as the Van Hungerford Memorial Golf Tournament, named in honor of United Way’s founder, Medina native and entrepreneur Van Hungerford.

His sons, Roger and Bill Hungerford, continue to be staunch supporters of United Way. Bill’s company, Takeform, is a major sponsor of the golf tournament, along with Baxter, Adfors St. Gobain, Curbell Plastics, H.H. Dobbins, Heritage Wind, Western New York Energy and the Mitchell Family/Cooper Funeral homes.

Both Gaines and Gaylord couldn’t stress enough the importance of these sponsorships and how much they are appreciated.

Friday morning, Shelridge club manager Brett Decker issued a warning to golfers about the possibility of rain and/or thunderstorms. He said Shelridge’s carts were equipped with a warning system, and should a thunderstorm be possible, he would sound the horn for golfers to leave the greens immediately.

Shortly after noon, rain did begin while golfers were one to two holes short of finishing the course. While most of them safely made it back to the clubhouse, some of the volunteers got drenched, including Aeddon Cayea, Gaylord’s assistant and grant writer, and photographer Abby Taylor Smith, coordinator of the Orleans Digital Literacy Initiative at Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

In the clubhouse, golfers enjoyed a meal and camaraderie while the drawings went on for the basket raffle and 50/50 winners.

Steve Dollinger and Nick Gregori, employees of Adfors St. Gobain in Albion, wanted to support United Way.

“Last year I heard about the basketball courts at Bullard Park,” Gregori said. “That was a big reason for me.”

Dollinger said he has participated in the tournament for three years.

Jodi Gaines, president of the board of United Way of Orleans County, sells mulligans to Steve Dollinger and Nick Gregori, employees of St. Gobain, at United Way’s annual golf tournament Friday at Shelridge Country Club.

Western New York Energy has been an avid supporter of United Way, this year as a major sponsor. CEO Tim Winters said they decided this was a great opportunity to get a few employees out and support United Way.

Curbell Plastics of Buffalo was also a major sponsor, and Jeff Wangler and one of his employees Tim McPherson came out to golf.

“I’ve been coming here for a few years, and I’m a member here at Shelridge,” Wangler. “This is a great event.”

The public is reminded that since 2020, United Way of Orleans County has brought nearly $1.7 million in programming and services to Orleans County. Their efforts have resulted in the new Code Blue Warming Center in Albion for people without housing; new basketball courts at Bullard Park in Albion; the Orleans Digital Literacy Initiative which helps people use technology and save money on their internet service; providing respite care so home-based caregivers can have a break; and creating a “Housing Action Strategy for Orleans County” to identify resources and recommendations for addressing the county’s housing crisis.

Partner agencies funded by United Way of Orleans County are Arc GLOW (Camp Rainbow and Meals on Wheels), Cornell Cooperative Extension, Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern, Go ART!, Medina Senior Center, OCALS Learning Services, OK Kitchen, Orleans County YMCA, P‘Raising Kids, Hospice of Orleans County, UConnectCare and WNY Boy Scouts of America.

A final plea is issued to the community to consider supporting United Way of Orleans County by joining the board, becoming a volunteer or donating with a one-time gift, payroll deduction or legacy gift to their endowment fund.