NEWINGTON - Given the recent mass shooting attack in Las Vegas that killed at least 58 people and injured some 500 others, the tournament couldn’t be more timely for Steve Madeia.
“You look at what happened a couple days ago, you never know what’s going to happen but it gives you a greater appreciation for what (first responders) do every day,” said Madeia, who grew up in Newington and now lives in Berlin, with family in his hometown still.
Madeia was one of several police, firefighter and community members who participated in the sold-out Newington Police and Fire Golf Classic Tuesday at Indian Hill Country Club.
The friendly, collaborative effort by both departments was raising money for police programs this year, such as the Citizens Police Academy, the Youth Police Academy and RAD, a self-defense class for women.
Funds will also go toward National Night Out, an annual event that aims to strengthen the relationship between police officers and the community. In its second year and alternating between which department is to benefit each year, the tournament last year went toward the fire department celebration of its 100th anniversary.
“We had a lot of participation, great sponsors … a lot of golfers. We had a great day, the course was in great shape,” said Newington Police Chief Stephen Clark, who shot a nine under with colleagues from the Vernon police department, coming in fourth.
Explaining that the tournament is a way to give back to the community through the outreach programs, Clark echoed similar sentiments to Madeia.
“When you consider what happened out in Las Vegas, the importance of supporting first responders, we’re fortunate here in Newington to have that, so we’re thankful for that,” he said.
Firefighters, like Eric Giansanti, who has been a firefighter for 36 years, the last 16 with Newington Company 1, said he’s never seen a collaborative tournament like this for both departments.
“It’s a great function … it’s brought our two organizations closer together a lot over the past two years,” said Giansanti. He added that he “played the whole course,” hitting the ball often while out on the course with his friends.
After a barbecue brunch from Café Louise at the club, the field began with a shotgun start before enjoying a happy hour and dinner at the club.
Among raffle prizes featuring a golf club, tickets to University of Hartford athletic games, a cooler and gift cards for local shops, was a 50/50 raffle for scholarships honoring Master Police Officer Peter J. Lavery, who was fatally shot in 2004 responding to a domestic disturbance call, and Officer Ciara McDermott, who was shot by an ex-boyfriend at her home in 2005. Over $500 was raised for the two scholarships.
“Thank you all for being in attendance tonight,” said Jamie DeSimone, who organized the tournament on behalf of the police department, alongside Kristen Stegmaier for the fire department. “I really, really, really appreciate it.”
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.