MASHPEE, Mass. — With more sponsors, more celebrities, more than double the number of golfers and a bigger venue, the second annual Wayne Soares Celebrity Golf Tournament to Benefit Homeless & Disabled Veterans promises to build on the success it enjoyed in year one.
But there is one thing Soares will miss from 2019's inaugural event.
"We won't be having a post-tournament reception," Soares said, noting one of the concessions that organizers have made to the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm really bummed out because last year, we recognized two World War II vets, and they received a thunderous ovation for two or three minutes.
"Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan was our keynote speaker, and he really hit it out of the park. If you're not proud of being an American after listening to him, I'm not sure what's wrong with you."
The Oct. 13 event at Mashpee's Willowbend Country Club on Cape Cod still will be marked by pride and gratitude as 30 celebrities help Soares raise funds to help homeless and disabled vets through the Cape & Islands Veterans Outreach Center.
Soares is an honorary member of the board of directors at the center, one of many things the actor, comic and television host does to help raise awareness of veterans issues.
In addition to being a speaker to groups of veterans and active-duty personnel, Soares writes iBerkshires.com's popular Veteran Spotlight column and produces a podcast.
Though he did not serve in the armed forces himself, he has a strong appreciation for those who have.
"It's just something I'm very passionate about," Soares said. "I've done a lot of work in the trenches, if you will, a lot of work at our VA hospitals in Brockton and Bedford. Obviously, I've done a lot of work overseas. I have a nationally syndicated column on RallyPoint which has 1.9 million members.
"That has allowed me to branch out to reach more of our veterans, who are very, very special people."
The second-year celebrity golf tournament Soares started with his daughter Jessie and tournament Chairman Rico Petrocelli, a member of the Red Sox 1967 "Impossible Dream" team, has grown to be the biggest golf event of its kind on the Cape and one of the largest celebrity golf events in the commonwealth.
Next month, 150 golfers, including 30 celebrities, will tee off on Willowbend's 27-hole layout, which has hosted sports luminaries from Greg Norman to Tom Watson and from Tom Brady to Bobby Orr.
The roster of notables in the Wayne Soares Celebrity Tournament includes Bruins' Hall of Famer Rick Middleton, Red Sox Hall of Famer Bill "Spaceman" Lee, Patriots Hall of Famer Steve Nelson, 1980 gold medalist Mike Eruzione and sports journalist Ann Liguori.
The event's presenting sponsor is the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association, a non-profit not affiliated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that supports local law enforcement. Other sponsors include Pittsfield's East Side Cafe, Tito's Handmade Vodka and East Coast Metal Roofing, which designed the tournament's website.
In its first year, the tournament raised more than $5,000 to support homeless and disabled veterans, and this year it is looking to do "considerably better" with all of its tee times already sold out by the July 1 deadline, Soares said.
Although the day will not be capped by a post-tournament gala due to limits on the size of gatherings, Soares still expects all the participants to have a good time.
"We'll play golf, people will get lunch and dinner, but there is no program afterward," he said. "Everyone is fine with it. At this stage of the game with where we are with COVID, we're thrilled to have the chance to play golf.
"People who participate in our tournament, from my daughter and Rico Petrocelli to the sponsors, the players and the celebrities, they're all making a difference through their contributions. It allows us to do things for our veterans like meals around the holidays or get wheelchairs we'll donate to different VA hospitals or hold veterans recognition events we put on throughout the year."
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The first public meeting on the master plan was held Wednesday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city is developing plans to make Pittsfield safer and more accessible to bicycling.
The first public meeting for the Pittsfield Bicycle Facilities Master Plan was held on Wednesday but the plan has been in the works for the last year or two, said City Planner CJ Hoss.
Though Pittsfield has a few areas with bike lanes or shared road lanes, the city would like to take a more progressive approach with simple roadwork projects or more extensive plans in the future to try and take on more ambitious, safer bike facilities.
"There's a need to take a citywide approach," Hoss said.
The overall vision is to create a safe, comfortable, and accessible bicycle network in the to serve people of all ages and abilities. This is broken down into four project goals of safety, accessibility, sense of place and sustainability.
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Much of Berkshire Community College's original establishment is because of the work done by former state Rep. Thomas C. Wojtkowski of Pittsfield, who represented what was then the 5th Berkshire District.
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