SHORT HILL, NJ — The weather cooperated Monday, Sept. 17, as more than 80 golfers teed off in support of the South Orange Rescue Squad at the second South Orange Invitational at the East Orange Golf course in Short Hills. South Orange Village Trustee Deborah Davis Ford, who served as chairwoman of the invitational, announced last year that this year’s invitational would support the volunteer members of the South Orange Rescue Squad in their quest to fund the purchase of a much-needed new ambulance. All told, the event raised more than $65,000 for the rescue squad.
The SORS steering committee and community members worked many months to ensure attendees would have a great day while supporting a worthwhile cause. Funds were raised from across the community, including champion sponsorship from Investors Bank, Building Homes for Heroes and Stone Mountain Properties.
South Orange Rescue Squad is staffed by volunteer EMTs and all ambulances, equipment and supplies are maintained and funded solely by contributions from the community — no member is compensated for their work. This dedicated team of volunteers contributes more than 20,000 on-duty hours per year and responds to an average of 1,300 to 1,400 calls each year.
The tournament concluded with a celebratory dinner at which Michael Doran won the 50/50 raffle prize, totaling $2,080. There were numerous auction items donated by merchants across the area, all of which helped raise the contributions to more than $65,000. Millburn Audi provided the “Hole in One” prize with a lease on a 2018 Audi A4.
“We are excited that so many people came out to play golf for such a good cause. We couldn’t believe that we exceeded our $20,000 goal by raising over $65,000 to help the South Orange Rescue Squad purchase a desperately needed ambulance,” Davis Ford said. “The rescue squad’s volunteers will use this ambulance to help South Orange and Maplewood residents during times of great need and crisis.”
Davis Ford announced at the dinner that next year’s South Orange Invitational will benefit JESPY House, a nonprofit organization that enables adults with learning and developmental disabilities to achieve their full potential and lead independent lives.
“JESPY House celebrates our 40th anniversary this year. When we received the call from Trustee Deborah Davis Ford, it was the most amazing birthday present,” JESPY House Executive Director Audrey Winkler said. “JESPY has helped adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities live independently in South Orange for 40 years. Our clients work, socialize and build families here. They have strong relationships with South Orange residents and businesses and are part of the fabric of our community.“
Trustee Deborah Davis Ford and Village President Sheena Collum started the South Orange Golf Invitation to help South Orange nonprofits.
“We started the annual Golf Invitational fundraiser to recognize and support South Orange nonprofits that give so much to and are members of the community,” Davis Ford said. “The Golf Invitational is a great opportunity for the South Orange community to say: ‘We are here for you just as you have been here for us.’”
Photos Courtesy of South Orange Invitational