Daniel E. Mazzulla Sr. Golf Tournament a success once again

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It’s ironic, many people will attest, that the name Mazzulla is connected with two of Rhode Island’s most successful golf tournaments.

It’s incredible, other folks will readily offer, that both tournaments have raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for two important non-profits that deal with education and cancer research.

When it comes to raising money for the Oncology-Hematology Units at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, no charity golf go-round does it better than the Johnston Memorial Cancer Events that is named in honor and memory of the late Anna Mazzulla, Laura DeAngelis and Sal Gelsomino.

To date, the JMCE Golf Tournament that recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary at Connecticut National Golf Club in Putnam, Connecticut has raised $150,000 to help children who have been stricken with cancer and recently embarked on another 5-year plan that includes raising $100,000 during that span for programs at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

When it comes to raising big bucks for education, no tournament has been as successful or as long operating to assist with a young man or woman’s college tuition than the recent Daniel E. Mazzulla Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament.

Prior to the recent tourney played at Triggs Memorial Golf Course in Providence, the Daniel E. Mazzulla Sr. Golf Tournament had raised $50,000 for college scholarships since it first teed off back 1987 after Dan Sr. passed away on Aug. 19 of that year.

The late Daniel E. Mazzulla Sr. and his wife Anna were the proud parents of eight children – Lois, Anthony, Dan, Michael, Lori, Donna, David and Kristen – who all had a hand in the 2017 tournament’s success.

However, as Donna Mazzulla said while cooking hot dogs on the grill with her sister Kristen and nieces Gianna and Alyssa: “Danny does it all; we’re just here to offer a helping hand. He works hard to put this all together and we are all very, very proud of what he does in dad’s memory.”

Moreover, as Donna Mazzulla said: “To be still going strong after 30 years is incredible, and for that we are all very, very thankful.”

But, people like Vincent J. LaFazia, a Vietnam veteran who is highly-active in the JMCE Golf Tournament and who worked side-by-side in the Johnston Recreation Department with his former boss – the late Mazzulla Sr. – will tell you it has been operating that long “because of the great respect people had for Dan Senior. He was a special man!”

What some people might not know about the late Mazzulla Sr., is that A) he was highly-active in the state’s softball scene for a number of years while he also served as Johnston’s Parks and Recreation Director and B) he was an extraordinary leader whose love and compassion to better and improve young people’s lives still shines brightly in many forms, most especially the memorial college scholarship fund.

“The scholarship fund dates back to 1988,” Michael Mazzulla, who played in a foursome with Robin Christensen, Lisa DeChristofaro and Paul Cerulo, offered. “That was awarded to Pamela Morris, who went on to Rhode Island College. Since then, we’ve honored 30 kids with dad’s scholarship.”

As an example of just how popular the Mazzulla Tournament has been, 144 golfers teed off in 2016 to help boost the fund. This year’s event, which was won by the foursome of Dan Hawkins, Kyle Norigean, Joe Scott and Mike Ricciotti and had upwards of 30 sponsors, attracted nearly 100 golfers.

The Daniel E. Mazzulla Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually, so LaFazia – who at one time followed in his late boss’s shoes – said “it’s given to a Johnston High School senior athlete, who in addition to participating on a varsity sports team for three years, is also judged according to academic achievements and financial need.”

Jaxson Tavares was the 2017 recipient and he’ll enroll at Post University in New York next month. The 2016 award went to Brianna Messa, who attends Roger Williams University in Bristol.

In its extraordinary run of three decades, the Daniel E. Mazzulla Memorial Scholarship has helped JHS grads with their undergraduate studies at James Madison, URI, Ferrum College, Assumption, Stonehill, MIT, Auburn, Sacred Heart and American University, just to name a few.

“On behalf of my family and all our tremendous sponsors, I’d like to thank Vin LaFazia for all he has done to make this tournament a special success,” Dan Mazzulla Jr., who followed in his father’s and LaFazia’s footsteps as the town’s recreation director, offered. “He’s the brains behind the tournament; he started it and has grown it to great heights.”

Mazzulla Jr., who played in a foursome with Richard Lasorsa, Mike Bedrosian and Joe Mansolillo, added: “Our scholarship program is well-funded and capable of going on for quite some time. For that, I have to again thank Vin (LaFazia) for all his hard work and the on-going support of many people in the Johnston business community and those people who have been friends of our family for many, many years.”

 

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