DOWNEY – Monday’s 25th Annual Optimist Club of Downey Charity Golf Tournament benefiting the youth of the community was a triumph in every way. Known as the “Tom Watts Memorial Tournament Held in Honor of ‘Del’ D’Alessandro,” the event was held at Rio Hondo Golf Club under sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-80s. “It was a great day for golf, it was a great day for fellowship, and most importantly, it was a great day to raise the funds we need to make a difference for the youth in our community,” said Optimist Club of Downey President Tom Burney.
The charity golf tournament is the Optimist Club’s major fundraiser. Its continuing success has been instrumental in making possible the club’s fourfold increase in support for area youth over the last three years.
One of this year’s tournament highlights occurred off the golf course, as 16 members of the Warren High School Humanitarian Society joined the event after their school day ended and assisted tournament organizers with a variety of tasks from picking up tee signs to arranging raffle items. They also interacted with event participants at the tournament dinner.
Thomas Watts III, son of the tournament founder, stated how he, his brother and their families felt about the tournament: “Rich and I along with our grateful families all join to thank you for staging this 25th annual tournament honoring our father. Each year since these worst of financial times, the field has been regaining its ground and the excitement growing. It was stunning to see the high school folks supported by the Downey Optimists turn out this year to show their thanks for the result of your hard work. Thanks again to the Downey Optimists and the tournament organizers from yeoman to chairman.”
Humanitarian Society advisor Jackie Pardo also praised the event. “The students really enjoyed interacting with the golfers. It was really awesome to be part of this fund raiser. I know the kids will continue to participate and assist in making this event successful in the future,” she said.
Monday marked the farewell tournament for longtime Optimist Club Treasurer Steve Allen, who plans to move to Arizona with his family later this year. “Steve and his wife Milayna have been one of the major reasons for the success of our tournament over the years,” said Optimist Club President Tom Burney. “We are very grateful for their extraordinary service and leadership, and they will truly be missed.”
Tom also gave kudos to Optimist members Sam Mathis, John Marifian, Fred Donnelly, Bob Winningham, John Taormina, Bert Wootan, Meredith Perkins, Roy Acker and Mark Shelton for helping make the tournament a giant success.
“The outstanding results of the tournament, including raising significantly more funds than last year, will allow us to again expand our investment in the youth of our city,” Tom said. “That is the true bottom line of the Optimist Charity Golf Tournament—to provide critical support for meaningful programs that will empower even more of the wonderful young people in our community.”
Published: May 1, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 03