PAL raises $8,000 at 23rd golf fundraiser

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Police Athletic League held its 23rd annual golf outing fundraiser on Monday, Aug. 28, with 80 people spending the afternoon on the sunny golf course, followed by dinner at the Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park. The money raised will support West Orange PAL’s youth baseball, football and cheerleading programs in the township.

“The PAL has been around for almost 60 years, and it’s events like this that keep us going,” Tony Casalino, a WOPAL board member and the outing chairman, told the West Orange Chronicle at the event.

The Brooklake Country Club played host to the WOPAL for the 14th year; previously the event had been held at the East Orange Golf Course and the Essex County Country Club.

“The whole reason we do this is for the youth of West Orange, that’s our goal every day,” Casalino, who headed up the committee for the event for the fifth year running, said. “We do a prize raffle and a golf competition. We start off with a putting contest up at the putting green, and then they’re off.”

In addition to the putting contest that kicked off the day, the fundraiser included lunch at the country club before a round of 18 holes, then dinner and an auction at the end of the day. The golfer to hit a golf ball closest to or into the hole had t a chance to win $2,500 at the 18th hole at the end of the day. Sam Jamdoli took home the grand prize as winner of the putting contest.

Prizes up for auction included New York Mets, Giants, Yankees and Jets jerseys; wireless speakers; golf bags, and putters. All the auction items had been donated or bought by WOPAL for the event.

“It’s a good summer activity,” Casalino said of the golf outing. “And it’s a social activity — there’s golf and dinner.”

The event was sponsored by local businesses, and anyone had the option to sponsor a hole on the course. The sponsor’s signs were displayed for the golfers to see as they played a round. Sponsors included: AAA Fence Distributors, E. Vanderhoof & Sons Charter Bus, Dangler Funeral Home, the Michael T. McCormick Jr. Memorial Foundation, the Shauger Group, Sal’s Scrap Metal, Ultimate Construction, Atlantic Health and the West Orange PBA Local 25.

“All of the money goes back into the organization to help our football, baseball and cheerleading programs,” Casalino said.

WOPAL did not have a final number for the funds raised by press time on Aug. 29, but estimated that the event had raised approximately $8,000.

WOPAL has been in full swing since the spring, with three different travel baseball teams that play in every season but winter for children ages 6 to 16. The three West Orange PAL Mustangs football teams and cheerleaders, made up of students between third and eighth grade, started practice Aug. 1, and are gearing up for their opening weekend games on Sept. 10.

“We’ve been in town for over 50 years,” Casalino said. “And we’re here for the kids. It’s not just about sports — we want to make them better people as well.”

Photos by Amanda Valentovic