When it comes to making wishes on the golf course, most players probably pray for long drives and accurate putts — or perhaps a bit of divine intervention to escape from a deep, steep bunker.
But for one very special day each September, golfers gather to help grant the wishes of children who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.
Now in its 26th year, the annual Weathervane Seafood Charity Golf Tournament has raised over $130,000 for Make-A-Wish Maine and Make-A-Wish NH. Organizers expect 140 golfers for this year’s tournament, a private event set for Tuesday, Sept. 12.
Organized each fall by Weathervane Seafood Restaurants, the tournament raises approximately $15,000 each year, thanks to the generosity of participating golfers, vendors and sponsors. The fund-raising fun include raffle tickets, mulligans and putting strings, a 50/50 putting contest and more.
This year a calendar raffle (open to all, 30 chances to win for just $5) has been established by one of the key sponsors, Dover-based RF Hunter, with prizes that include lobster dinners, cash and gift cards.
Additional sponsors include: Eastern Propane, Sysco NNE, F.W. Bryce, EcoLab, Blount, MEMIC, BlendPak, Nathan Weschler & Co., Baker Commodities, McCain, Native Maine, Ispwich Shellfish, Westminster Bakers, Coca-Cola, Hanover Insurance, New England Coffee, P. Gagnon and Son, Dowling Corp., Sidehill Farm and TriMark.
Changing Lives on the Links
For the kids, the result is life-changing. But despite what you might think, not every Make-A-Wish recipient dreams of meeting his or her favorite golfer. In fact, proceeds from the 2015 tournament helped grant the experience of a lifetime for a Derek, an Exeter High student whose wish was to meet NASCAR hero Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Daytona 500.
“His smile in the photos was priceless,” said Weathervane Chief Operating Officer Jeremy Gagner. “I am so proud that Weathervane has supported Make-A-Wish for all these years and look forward to supporting them in the future so they can continue to grant wishes like his.” According to his mom, the experience meant the world to Derek, who died of a brain tumor just eight weeks after his VIP trip to the iconic NASCAR event.
Make-A-Wish Event Finds ‘Sweet Spot’ at The Oaks
Having hosted the Weathervane charity golf tournament for over 10 years now, The Oaks is an ideal site for such an event. Regularly mentioned as a top New Hampshire course on Golfweek’s annual list of the “Best Courses You Can Play” in each state, the Somersworth course provides a beautiful backdrop for a day of golf and good deeds. The Oaks was even named New England Course of the Year for 2009 by the National Golf Course Owners Association.
For Team Weathervane, events like the golf fundraiser at The Oaks are inspired by a belief that it’s important to be a good neighbor and lend a helping hand in your communities — a tradition that dates back to 1969 when Ray and Bea Gagner started the family-owned Weathervane with a friendly little seafood shack in Kittery, Maine.