Linda Simonen poses for a quick picture with Howie Meeker at the 26th annual Howie Meeker Charity Golf Classic held Aug. 16 at Storey Creek Golf Course.

Meeker Charity Golf Classic in 26th year of helping Special Olympians

About 115 athletes from the ages of 12 to 69 benefit from the funds raised at the annual event

Still going strong in its 26th year, the Howie Meeker Charity Golf Classic once again filled the fund for Special Olympians in the Campbell River area to enable them to keep doing what they love.

The event this year was held Aug. 16 this year at Storey Creek Golf Course.

“They wanted me to get them a Vancouver Canuck,” said Meeker, now 91 years young, discussing how he originally got involved with the charity golf tournament that now bears his name, “but the Canucks weren’t interested. After a few years of doing it [myself], they just said, ‘why don’t you just do it and we’ll put your name on it?’ and I said, ‘sure,’ because it was fun, and it was important.”

According to Lori Holmgren, program coordinator for the Campbell River and District Association for Community Living, about 115 athletes from the ages of 12 to 69 benefit from the funds raised at the annual event, which brings in between $25,000 and $30,000 annually.

Dean Thulin, who is in his 10th year with the organization, said it’s all about the athletes.

“Nothing goes to administration or overhead. Everything raised here goes to the athletes,” to cover the cost of equipment, travel, entry fees and other associated financial considerations. “The athletes don’t pay a thing, because we cover it all. They can just focus on having fun.”

They have fun at the golf tournament as well. Each five-person team has an athlete as their caddy, smiling all the way around the course as they play their “best ball” round. The event ends each year with a banquet where there is a silent auction, live auction, more games and fun, and most importantly, a community coming together for a worthwhile cause. This year’s banquet was held at the Thunderbird Hall.