Editor: On behalf of the Richardson, MacCollom and Ruzecki families, they would like to thank the Seminole community for another successful round of golf at the Fifth Annual Forever Friends Golf Tournament held on April 5.
This tournament was started to give remembrance and hope from a tragedy. After the accident on April 10, 2009, the families of the boys wanted to give back to the community by allowing students to continue to achieve their goals, either through sports and academics. The tournament was the best way to reach out to the Seminole community and Pinellas County to gain support and keep the boys’ memories alive.
Over 140 golfers were able to enjoy a fun filled day with good weather and entertainment, while they played 18 holes of championship golf. The tournament featured both a lunch and dinner along with live music provided by Carlos and Joe. A raffle, silent and live auction kept people in a competitive mood as people bid for competitive prizes such as golf packages and prize packages donated by local restaurants and businesses. Golfers and members of the community were able to view memorable photos and videos of Keith MacCollom, Nate Richardson, Joey Ruzecki, and LeShawn Smith inside the clubhouse.
After golf play was completed and during dinner, the crowd and families received a surprise from the Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long who read a proclamation decreeing that April 10, 2014 as “Forever Friends Day” in Pinellas County.
After the auction, the families and friends participated in a butterfly release and delivered a heartfelt thank you to over 300 guests and friends. Along with Seminole Lake Country Club general manager Norm Haglund and golf pro Bruce Chaleff, they thanked the continuing support of the golf course along with the countless volunteers that helped make the event run smoothly for the afternoon shotgun.
The families would like to thank gold sponsors: the Orr Family, the Kenny Family, Clear Tech Pools, Relief at Hand, Helinger Advertising, Twiss Transport, and Pavimento Inc., as well as silver sponsors: District 66 Florida House of Representative Larry Ahern, Ferman Automotive, and bronze sponsors the Bluett Family, JLG and Associates, Angry Pepper, CM Management LLC O’Hanlan Family, the Hano Family and FedEx.
They were able to raise money that will benefit high school students and athletes with their college and career plans; along with giving local children the opportunity to follow their dreams to play football, baseball, basketball and soccer. Proceeds from the tournament will go to benefit The Keith MacCollom Hoops and Heritage Memorial Scholarship fund; the Joey Ruzecki Memorial Scholarship Fund; The Nate Richardson Memorial Baseball Scholarship Fund; the YMCA of Largo and Play for Us Memorial Foundation.
On May 13, the families presented awards to the winners of the scholarships. Winners for the Keith MacCollom Hoops and Heritage Memorial Scholarship award were Max Mason, Sara Lynn Stiehler, Connor Frain and Tanner Cowan. Winners for the Nate Richardson Baseball scholarship award were Nicolette Meyers on the softball team and Doug Borgh, Kyle Frickman and Cody Miller on the baseball team. Winners for the Joey Ruzecki Memorial Scholarship were Connor Frain, Max Mason, Brianna Morgan, Liam Murphy, Haley Weaver and Madeline Zanga.
The families hope to see the continuing support next year when the tournament will be held on April 11 at the Seminole Lakes Country Club. For more information about the Forever Friends Golf Tournament, please visit www.foureverfriends.org.