Roy Ellsworth was in his glory Saturday. After all, it was his day at the Harbor Lights golf course in Warwick Neck.
More precisely, it was the 26th annual Roy’s Day at the nine-hole course. Roy wasn’t put off by the chill in the morning air that had many of the 42 players wearing sweaters and long pants. Roy was in shorts and ready to tee off for the shotgun start.
Roy’s sister, Pat Jankowski, said if it hadn’t been for their father’s determination, Roy would have never played golf. Stephen Ellsworth worked with his son, who has cerebral palsy, until he finally hit a ball.
“It wasn’t easy,” said Jankowski, “he would make 20 swings without contact.”
But Roy has it down now. He teed up, took several practice swings and then sent the ball straight down the fairway.
If he was pleased with the shot, he didn’t show it. His reward was the cheers of those who were watching. Roy is no stranger to Harbor Lights or its golfers. The Ellsworths bought a home just off the course in the 1970s and he has been a part of the course ever since. After his father passed, his sister moved to the house to live with Roy so that he could continue to be a part of the course and all the people who have become his extended family. She didn’t want to send him to a group home that would have been the option.
Roy is a sports enthusiast. He was wearing a Red Sox cap Saturday. Jankowski said he’s also a Boston Bruins fan and, of course, of the Patriots. The Celtics are on his list of favorites, too, she added, but the Red Sox are at the top.
In spite of his disability, Roy has had a number of jobs. He worked at the cafeteria at Electric Boat in Quonset for 15 years and at Doreen’s that was just around from the Kent County Courthouse, where he made friends with lawyers and judges.
Jankowski is a golfer, too, and the pair played this summer at the Special Olympics Partner Golf at the Buttonhole course in Providence. The par-3 course suited their game, she said.
Jankowski used the occasion, as she has during previous Roy’s Days, to raise about $350 for the J. Arthur Trudeau Memorial Center. From a table outside the pro shop she sold tickets to a selection of raffle items. She said Trudeau Center has been wonderful for Roy and she always wants to help in return.
It was just the kind of day that Roy loves – lots of friends. Golf was really secondary.