Posted by: David Giacalone | September 19, 2015

2015 Golf Ball Drop a Ten

Dan Rogers had the closest ball

the closest ball

Yesterday evening (Friday, September 18), I took my yearly trip to Stadium Golf Course for Family and Child Service of Schenectady‘s signature fundraising event, its Golf Ball Drop. In its 85th year serving Schenectady families, FCSS is a Stockade tradition, with headquarters at 246 Union Street, across from the Van Dyck.



It was the 10th annual “GBD” and the event, which also included dinner, raffles, presentations highlighting the work of FCSS, and a silent auction, glowed with good cheer, good times, and good food, and I hope a great bottom line. Bruce Mowery of North Country Heli-flite again provided the requisite helicopter; legendary Channel 6 anchorman Jack Aernecke was our amiable emcee; the Honorary Media sponsor was Pop Crush 105.7; Executive Director Bob Vanzetta was a gracious host; and primary event organizer Michele Shellard was busy guiding it all to a successful end (even without her trusty right arm, Alessandra, who was ably replaced by student volunteer Elias).

  • go to the FCSS Events Page for a full list of Golf Ball Drop Sponsors and Donors.

The Grand Prize winners (balls closest to the pin):

  1. Dan Rogers: ball #485
  2. Allen Zieker, M.D.: ball #558
  3. Ann Parillo: ball #797

This slideshow presents the “outdoor”, helicopter portion of the event  — assembling the ball-handlers, loading, dropping, assessing, and picking up the balls, plus taking two FCSS clients for a special flight.  (I arrived too late to view a new tradition, a Putting Contest, which I understand brought in a few more dollars for the FCSS coffers.)

For a larger version of a Slideshow image, pause the Slideshow at the image, right-click and then chose View Image.


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  • above: a frame from Michelle’s video


[L to R] Travis, Michelle, Beebe

After the Balls Dropped, the celebration resumed inside the Stadium Golf Course clubhouse.  We listened carefully and studied our raffle tickets as Jack Aernecke announced each winning raffle number, as well as the high-bidders who won the Silent Auction prizes. The Stadium clubhouse kitchen provided another delicious buffet meal. And, diners had the chance to meet two FCSS clients and learn their appreciation for the services provided by FCSS’s devoted staff: 1. Cancer patient Michele, along with her loving son and day nurse; and 2. Young Kristian, who showed us some of his best brown belt taekwondo moves, with the help of his instructor.

GBD2015pendant For this tenth anniversary year, top prizes included Visa cash cards, a custom designed blue topaz and diamond pendant and a weekend On The Town package. Two of the three Grand Prize winners were in attendance, Ann Parillo and Allen Zeiker.  Ann was pleasantly surprised by her 3rd-place award, a Weekend On the Town at Proctor’s and downtown Schenectady; and Dr. Zeiker’s wife was very pleased to model the blue topaz pendant, which was again custom designed by Sondra’s Fine Jewelry, as part of the 2nd Grand Prize.

The following Slideshow has two dozen photos from the indoor portion of the GBD Event. I wasn’t able to photograph each table or group of honorees, but I hope the photos give viewers a taste of a fun and heartwarming event.  (I’ve again included a collage of photo faces that were a little too blurry to use individually.)

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  1. This is great… thanks so much DG

    • thank YOU, Michele for fretting over all the details, big and small!

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