What started as a casual conversation ended up with many members of the New Haven Fire Department helping raise money toward the high school’s golf programs
A $6,000 check presentation was made on Tuesday morning at the fire department’s headquarters on Grand Avenue. It will go mainly toward golf equipment for the three teams, Wilbur Cross, Hillhouse and Career.
“I’d like to thank the fire department and all of their different organizations for working to raise money on behalf of our athletes,” New Haven citywide athletic director Erik Patchkofsky said. “This will go a long way in providing more access and equity for New Haven kids to participate in golf.”
Scott Ferrie, a lieutenant in the fire department, was having a conversation with his daughter’s boyfriend this summer. Ferrie said he is a member of Branford’s golf team.
An avid golfer himself, Ferrie asked how all three programs have fared.
“He mentioned that (the players), sometimes they share clubs. That struck a chord inside of me. That’s how the whole thing started,” said Ferrie, who grew up in New Haven.
After having a conversation with Patchkofsky on what the programs’ needs were, Ferrie and John Twohill, a fire department captain and a childhood friend of Ferrie’s, started the process to gather donations.
Ferrie credited the local 825, the department’s union, along with members of the department’s Benevolent Society, Emerald Society, Hispanic Society and Firebird Society for all making sizable donations.
“All of these organizations within the New Haven Fire Department all contributed to the cause,” Ferrie said.
The department also raffled off a leather helmet donated by the Chief’s Cup, an annual benefit hockey game between the city’s police and fire departments.
Ferrie, who has been a firefighter for 21 years, said he didn’t have a number in mind when he started, but knew his fellow firemen would help support the cause.
“I said this today (at the presentation). Firefighters in general have it in their DNA. They want to help out. Put sports and kids into the mix and it was an easy task to raise the money,” Ferrie said. “The men and women of the fire department made this come to fruition. They stepped up, took the ball and ran with it. Hopefully, the programs get the equipment they need to compete.”
In addition to Patchkofsky and members of the fire department, also attending Tuesday’s ceremony were all three of the city’s golf coaches: Toby Alvarez from Career, Mike DePasquale from Hillhouse and Joe Steele from Wilbur Cross, who will begin his 43rd season as coach next spring.
“A lot of the guys do share clubs. All three of our programs share the same golf course (Alling Memorial GC). They are all friends. They play (rounds) together and help each other out,” Steele said. “This (donation) will be a great help. All of the kids will really appreciate this.”