Posted by: David Giacalone | September 14, 2013

more golf ball fun with FCSS


– an extra hole was prepared for the Golf Ball Drop –


. click on a photo for a larger version .

GBD2013-lastballs Family & Child Service of Schenectady‘s Annual Golf Ball Drop and Dinner was held yesterday evening (Friday, September 13, 2013) at Stadium Golf Club in Schenectady.  It was the 8th occurrence of the event, which is the signature fundraiser for FCSS, a not-for-profit organization that has worked from its headquarters at 246 Union St. in the Stockade for over sixty years, helping to make families stronger.  All proceeds from the fund-raiser will be directed to the support of the programs and services offered by FCSS.

Donny Michaels of Pop Crush 105.7 FM was the emcee for the evening. Nearly a thousand numbered golf balls that had been “purchased” for $10 each were dropped from a helicopter, which was flown by Bruce Mowery of North Country Heli-flite.  As usual, the three balls closest to the pin won this year’s grand prizes.

 GBD2013-flagdown To stay out of turbulent wind, helicopter pilot Bruce Mowery flew lower than usual approaching the flag for the ball drop, and the downdraft knocked down the flag.  Valiant FCSS Executive Director Bob VanZetta rushed over to stand the flag up, but a second approach knocked it down again, and it stayed that way for the remainder of the ball drop contest.

GBD2013d-measure1 . . GBD2013-BobBucket . . GBD2013b-IwoBob

 GBD2013e-returnBob . . Bob VanZetta, Exec. Dir.

Executive Director Bob VanZetta played many roles

Bruce Mowery and Kevin O’Brien of North Country Heliflite with their helicopter

After the balls landed and the distances of those nearest the pin were measured, the winning golf balls, and their owners, were:

  1. First Place: Ball #789, “owned” by Kim Powell, who won two round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines.
  2. Second Place: Ball #903, owned by Larry Meracle, who won a custom, blue topaz and diamond pendant courtesy of Sondra’s Fine Jewelry
  3. Third Place: Ball #697:  owned by Stephen Wesoloski, who won a “Night out on the Town” package featuring overnight accommodations and dinner at the Glen Sanders Mansion and other surprised from area merchants.

  Unfortunately, we can’t show you any photos of the lucky winners, because none attended the Event last night.  All three winners had purchased their winning balls before last night, while playing at Stadium Golf Club. Congratulations to them, and thanks to all who purchased golf balls this year to benefit FCSS and their client-consumers. [Ed Note: I apologize for getting mangling two of the winners’ names when they were first posted.]


The following slideshow has about 60 photos, two dozen taken outside preparing for and holding the golf ball drop, and three dozen taken inside the Clubhouse, where you could find conviviality, good food, a raffle and auction, and the announcement of the contest winners.  As always, meeting two of FCSS’s clients and hearing their inspiring stories — this time Nora and Christine were a highlight of the evening; and two preschoolers charmed all of us — Nicholas (3), the son of host Donny Michaels, and Zach (4), grandson of Ron Rodriguez (new husband of FCSS staffer Carla Rodriguez).  Please let me know if I have misidentified anyone or mis-spelled names.

– share this posting with this short URL:

GBD2013IMG_1706 . . . . GBD2013IMG_1722

– Nora [L] with caregiver Carmine, showed us her wit and spunk (with a pretty good “stand-up” comedy routine); and Christine shared her story and played violin for us. –

  Nora told us all that FCSS has done for her over the years, with special thanks for Carmine Torres, who Nora opined should get paid more.  Nora listed things she can no longer do, but concluded to applause: “Everything is gone, but I’m still here and I’m going to enjoy it.” Carmine added, “You have to love what you do, and I love my job.”  Chrissie gave thanks for over a decade of help from FCSS, and told us of the many wishes her caseworkers have fulfilled.  She also played a Bach piece on her violin. Chrissie’s mother Pat spoke of her daughter as a role model for her family and repeated their motto, “You can do it!”

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GBD2013IMG_1665  . . .  GBD2013IMG_1736

– Fund Development Coordinator Michele Shellard [R] was instrumental in the Event’s success, and her daughter Alessandra helped out all night, too –


– want more? click to see collages (with some blurry but memorable moments) –

GBD2013-miscmoment . .  . . GBD2013-Christine

– collage above: [L] misc. groups; [R] Christine & Patty

. . GBD2013-Nicholas . .

– collage above: [L] Nicholas & family; [R] Zach & family

 As always, many FCSS Board members and staffers, and other volunteers, worked hard to make the 8th Annual Golf Ball Drop a success.  And, many sponsors provided financial support and donated for the live auction and raffle prizes.  Pop Crush 105.7 FM was the honorary media sponsor; YNN (“only on Time Warner Cable”). Lamar Advertising, and Fennimore Asset Management Inc (FAM Funds) were the Par Sponsors.  See the FCSS website for a full list of sponsors.

   Click to see our coverage of the 2012 Event, the  2011 Golf Ball Drop, the 2010 Golf Ball Drop, and the 2009 event.

– the following Gallery has thumbnails of the photos above; click on them for a larger version and scroll over for a description –

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