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DHS/CMHS/FHS Alumni Golf Tournament held Friday

Back together again

OBSERVER Photo by Anthony Dolce The group of over 150 golfers, along with the volunteers and city councilmen pose for a photo prior to the tournament.

At 10 a.m. Friday morning, over 150 golfers teed off to start the DHS/CMHS/FHS Alumni Golf Tournament for the 10th consecutive year at Shorewood Country Club in Dunkirk. This is an event that has seen a rampant growth in popularity since it began 10 years ago — something the organizer of the event, Bill Bamonto, has worked hard toward.

“In the first two years, Bill knocked it out going through the local media, starting back in January. A lot of emails get sent out through the winter, and it’s just taken on a life of its own,” Marty Bamonto said.

Bill Bamonto brainstormed this event back in 2009, when he realized how little he saw his old classmates, and how little others saw their classmates. He got the idea that one weekend out of every summer could be taken out for a now large reunion.

“When we came back and weren’t seeing all our friends, a lot of our parents, aunts and uncles had passed away, and we wanted to get together. I had this brainstorm 11 years ago that this would be a great way to come back for one weekend every summer and do a golf tournament,” Bill Bamonto said.

Being there for even a handful of minutes, the general feeling of reunion and camaraderie could be felt, with around 90 percent of the competitors as alumni of one of the three high schools, with the others being friends and family. Everyone in attendance was beaming as much as the sun was, as the tournament was also graced with gorgeous weather.

“It means a lot to the whole community. As Mayor in the city of Dunkirk, I just feel proud to see this tournament grow. It’s nice just to see all these people come back,” Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas said.

For an event that started just as a fun weekend get away, it has turned into so much more. The tournament takes what the community gives it, then gives it right back.

“It turned into a charity golf tournament, now we’re raising over $8,000 for Little League,” Bill Bamonto said.

This year the tournament was raising money for Dunkirk-Fredonia Little Leagues and Girls softball programs, which is the latest charity that the tournament is benefitting.

“It was just a couple years ago that the city of Dunkirk benefitted from a donation from this event for Camp Gross, where we hold summer camp for kids, and this year it’s little league. It’s a very good cause, and I commend the effort of the committee here,” Mayor Rosas said.

Following the golf tournament, a cocktail party followed, featuring a silent auction with several different baskets featuring different sports memorabilia, including a football autographed by New York Giants’ running back Saquon Barkley, and a jersey autographed by former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, among several other baskets featuring gift certificates and other prizes. Prizes were awarded for different accomplishments, including closest to the pin or longest drive on specific holes for either men or women. For the fourth year in a row, there was a hole-in-one contest on hole No. 6.

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