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Rancho Golf Classic spotlights talented patients
Generous community support helps raise more than $70,000 for Rancho programs.
WRITTEN BY :   Greg Waskul, Rancho Los Amigos Foundation

WHITTIER – From patients with paralysis rising remarkably in their Paragolf carts to hit demonstration shots from a standing position, to the spectacular sound of a trio of blind patients singing the Star-Spangled Banner, to the patient success stories that adorned each tee box, the 23rd Annual Rancho Golf Classic was all about the accomplishments of the patients of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.

The Rancho Los Amigos Foundation’s 2013 tournament was played Monday at Friendly Hills Country Club in Whittier in sunny, 80-degree weather. The tournament raised more than $70,000 after expenses to support vital Rancho patient programs.

“The Paragolf demonstrations by Rancho patients were simply amazing,” said Mike Silacci of AT&T, a co-chair of the charity event. “We all have to thank Supervisor Don Knabe for making these vehicles available for Rancho’s patients.”

The patients who showed their Paragolf prowess included Julio Caro, Walter Molo, Carlos Madrigal and Hector Duron. They were supported by Rancho Recreation Therapists Tiffany Yoshida and Jenny Francisco.

Five state-of-the-art Paragolf carts were provided to Rancho by Supervisor Don Knabe in 2012.

“When you see individuals who have been paralyzed from the waist or chest down stand and hit a golf ball so well, it fills you with a tremendous sense of respect for the extraordinary effort Rancho’s patients make to reach their potential. It’s my pleasure to support these courageous and hard-working patients as they reach for their dreams.”

A record number of sponsors supported the Rancho Golf Classic this year. They included:

* Title Sponsor AT&T
* Platinum Sponsor Supervisor Don Knabe
* Gold Sponsor Sodexo
*Golf Cart Sponsor PIH Health
*Tournament Ball Sponsor Reimbursement Services Group
*Dinner Sponsor Byram Healthcare
*Silver Sponsors BNSF and Sutherland Global Services
*Bronze Sponsors Care Ambulance, CH2M Hill, Financial Partners Credit Union, Port of Long Beach, Rose Hills and Vanir Construction Management
* Hole-in-One Sponsor Toyota of Whittier

“We are very thankful for these 15 sensational sponsors and all those who purchased foursomes or tee signs and helped us surpass our fund raising goal this year,” said co-chair and Rancho Los Amigos Foundation Board Member Greg Nordbak.

After the golf was completed, Supervisor Knabe served as MC at the awards dinner. The crowd got another sense of the greatness of Rancho’s patients when the Supervisor called the blind vocal trio “OUTASIGHT,” to the stage to sing the Star-Spangled Banner a cappella. Song stylists Otis Albert, ElI del Rio and Robert Smith gave a stirring rendition of our national anthem, as the crowd stayed on its collective feet long after they sang, “O Say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

“Otis, Elizardo and Robert gave those who attended the event dinner a performance that rivaled anything they would hear in a concert hall,” said Rancho CEO Jorge Orozco. “We are so proud of these incredible patients and their tremendous talents, which they also share with the community as part of our “Performing Arts of Rancho” program.”

As the evening progressed, Supervisor Knabe’s fivesome that also included James Oh, L.A. County CEO Bill Fujioka and his wife Darlene Kuba and ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor Phillip Palmer was announced as the winner of the “A” flight in the tournament’s “scramble” format, completing their round in just 55 strokes.

The $2,000 first prize in the Opportunity Drawing was won by Rancho retiree John McGuire. The prize was sponsored by legendary Rancho volunteer and Amistad Award honoree Tom Hale and his wife Marjorie. The second and third place prizes of $500 and $250 were sponsored by the Optimist Club of Downey.

The event also included a silent auction, live auction and “Fund a Miracle” appeal that enabled participants to sponsor various special activities at Rancho for amounts from $50 to $1,000.

As they enjoyed their delicious dinner many attendees were thinking and talking about the Paragolfers and singers who helped them truly understand why they were there and who, in their pursuit of excellence, exemplified the magic and indomitable spirit of a very special place called Rancho.

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Published: Aug. 15, 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 18



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