Optimist Club enjoys successful golf tournament

DOWNEY - The Optimist Club of Downey's 23rd Annual Golf Tournament, which helps fund a number of vital children's programs throughout the community, was held Monday at Rio Hondo Golf Course.Known as the "Tom Watts Memorial Tournament held in memory of "Del" D'Alessandro", the event attracted 15 percent more golfers than last year's Optimist tournament on a picture-perfect spring day. "Tom Watts and Del D'Allesandro were the driving forces for the first two decades of this tournament," said club President Meredith Perkins. "We salute the tremendous efforts they put forth not only to establish the Optimist Golf Tournament, but to help it to flourish as well." The tournament was founded in 1980 by club member Tom Watts, whose passion for golf was only exceeded by his passions for his family and for helping kids in need. Long-time club member and golf tournament organizer Alfred "Del" D'Alessandro eventually took over the tournament, bringing the same commitment to excellence as Tom. Each year on the day after the tournament, Del would begin planning the next year's event. Whether it was finding donors, selecting and purchasing the prizes, selecting the menu for the banquet, or working tirelessly to fill the field with golfers, Del kept at it until he was sure the event was going to be a big success. "We all cherished the dedication Tom and Del brought to the tournament, because we knew they each had one goal-to help build the youth in the Downey community," Meredith said. "We are very proud to honor the memories of these extraordinary men." "The Optimist Club focuses on improving the lives of children," Meredith said. "Our annual golf tournament is the main fund raiser for our organization, so especially during these challenging economic times, the community's support is vital to allow us to keep up our good work for the youth of our community." Proceeds from this year's tournament will be used for: *Sponsoring scholarships for exceptional students graduating from Downey's high schools. *Supporting the children with disabilities throughout the year at world-renowned Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. *Sponsoring the annual "Pumpkin Patch" at Apollo Park in Downey, which provides a safe and fun Halloween for thousands of local kids and their families. *Providing sports equipment to the Optimist International Boys and Girls home, which has been helping kids in need for more than 85 years. *Making annual gifts to The Arc - Los Angeles and Orange Counties, Gangs Out of Downey (GOOD), the Downey Family YMCA, Boy and Girl Scouts, and the Jonathan Jacques Children's Cancer Center. We wish to thank tournament chairman Mark Sauter, as well as all our supporters and volunteers, for making this year's tournament a major success," Meredith said. "We are already looking forward to returning to Rio Hondo next spring for our 24th annual event, so that we can do even more to help the children of our community." -Story and photo by Greg Waskul

********** Published: April 19, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 01