Saturday, June 26, 2010

This year it was Bill's Tourney

Last week -- the 26th anniversary of the Community General Foundation Pro-Am Golf Tournament -- was held in memory of Bill Towsley.

Until his death on March 10, Bill was the Business Manager of IBEW Local Union #43. He was also a member of the Foundation Board and a long-time friend of Community General Hospital.

More than 200 people attended the Pro-Am on June 18 at the Shenandoah Golf Club at the Turning Stone Resort under picture-perfect skies.

Bill's son Ken played in the IBEW #43 foursome, and all his children attended the award ceremonies at the end of play. They are Ken (with Jen), Billie (with Sarah), Tracy (with Tate), and Jennifer (with Jeremy). It was a wonderful and emotional end to a great day.

That's Don Morgan in the photo, at right. He is the Business Manger of IBEW Local Union #43, and with him are NECA Manager Marilyn Oppedisano and Pat Costello, Assistant Business Manager/ President of the Local.

This year's Pro-Am was supported by more than 90 local and national companies. It is Central New York's only charitable pro-am style tournament. Special thanks go to the Central New York PGA and its executive Alan Seamans for all the help and support in putting together this annual event.

Since its inception the Community General Foundation Pro-Am has raised over $2.2 million in support of Community General Hospital. Greg Cohen, senior vice president of EBS-RMSCO, Inc., and co-chair of the 2010 Golf Committee, announced that this year's Pro-Am was the most successful yet, raising some $170,000. He said this was the result of "tremendous generosity" from the sponsors. My thanks to Greg and to Jim Aiello, who also co-chaired the Golf Committee.

In the closing ceremonies, Greg officially announced the Pro-Am's new name: The Towsley Pro-Am to Benefit the Community General Foundation. Under Bill's leadership, Local #43 donated more than $80,000 to Pro-Am over the past nine years.

Bill passed away on March 10 after a courageous battle with cancer. He discussed the illness with me a number of times. Bill made no secret of the battle he was in, and he was as tough, as straightforward, and as honest in facing cancer as he was in his life as a labor leader.

I told Bill I admired his stoicism about the illness, and I allowed that "it must be tough for you sometimes, Bill."

"Sure it is," he said. "Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night. You can't help but think about things. But what are you going to do? You've got to face this thing and get on with your life."

On the day he died, a reporter called to ask my recollections of Bill. I told her stories about how I met him and how Bill and the IBEW supported a number of charities. At one point I described Bill as applying "gentle pressure" as he fought to make sure that firms using union labor were included in the competitive bidding process for construction jobs.

"You're the first person I've heard use the word 'gentle' in the same sentence as Bill Towsley," said the reporter.

I knew Bill as someone unapologetic about his union interests, one who was practical and forthright in pursuing his goals, one who was interested in the community, and one who stood by his friends.

At Bill's calling hours, I ran into a prominent elected official coming out of the Edward J. Ryan Funeral Home as I joined the hundreds-long waiting line going in. "We lost a good man," I said.

"He was a good one alright," said the official, "but he didn't hesitate to yell at me."

"Oh, he could yell at me too," I said. "But he was smart, he was a straight shooter, and he had a big heart."

I couldn't be prouder that the Pro-Am is now named for Bill and that in its first year the Towsley Tourney topped previous records for the Community General Foundation. I'd like to acknowledge and thank the sponsors of the 2010 Pro-Am, including:
Presenting Sponsor
IBEW Local 43/ NECA

Course Sponsor

Cart Sponsors
Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists
Welch Allyn

Pro Sponsor
Crouse Radiology Associates

Lunch Sponsors
Alliance Bank
Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC

Buffalo Hospital Supply
Burns Bros Contractors

Carrier Corporation
Empower FCU
Fust Charles Chambers
Honeywell, Inc.
Key Bank

M.S. Kennedy Corporation
Mackenzie Hughes, LLP
Practice Resource
Rural Metro

Upstate Emergency Medicine

No comments: