action shot 1`Every Labor Day weekend, the TPC Boston course in Norton attracts some of the best golfers in the world, who compete for over $8 million in prize money in the Deutsche Bank Classic. On Tuesday, the course was the site for a different event. While the level of golf and the money involved was somewhat less, the cause was important: about 70 enthusiastic golfers endured 36 holes over the arduous course in the annual Ironman event, which benefits Junior Achievement of Southern Massachusetts.

Before the event, emails were circulating concerning the color of the team shirts.  (The event features a Ryder Cup format with three teams; each player plays a four-ball match in the morning and afternoon.) Apparently the team colors had not been determined, which perplexed those in the field who were concerned with color-coordinatingI found this obsession with colors curious, as I was focusing on more pressing concerns: would my already shaky game hold up over 36 holes on the brutal course, which features numerous ravines and enormous bunkers? How many balls did I need to have on hand? Should I focus on my tees shots or short game in my limited practice time?  Should take a bunker lesson? Would practice matter?

The four-ball format, fortunately, allows partners to cover for one another. I contributed early in my morning match, but faded later in the round. In the afternoon, my younger and more proficient partner carried me most of the way, although I came through with a couple of key pars down the stretch.  Given the hot day, most of us were focusing on getting in for the sumptuous dinner on the final nine holes.  As always, the camaraderie more than made up for some of the errant shots.

sands bodenmann legassick milhenchCaroline Paradis, President of Junior Achievement of Southern Massachusetts, said that last year the Ironman event raised a total of $79, 580, of which JA netted $47,505. That permitted JA provide 1,298 students in 59 classrooms with a JA program.  Participants in this year’s event each raised or contributed at least $800 to JA.

JA board chairman Will Mendonca participated in the Ironman event for the eighth time.  He has also worked hands on in the classroom for JA. Mendonca noted that participating in the event “brings everything full circle – I get a chance to see the folks who help us out. The Ironman has been the catalyst for us to be able to do what we do in the classrooms.”

Mendonca also noted he was pleased to see three of the students won scholarships through JA’s Titan Business Challenge talk about their experience at the dinner Tuesday. The students compete in teams of three, playing roles of CEO, CFO, and marketing officer of a business.

Fundraising awards were announced at dinner on Tuesday. Eric Carlson won the Eagle award for the most corporate sponsorship dollars. Bob Lee won the individual fundraising award, while Jeff Dirksen and Linda Bodenmann were runners up.

Also recognized were participants who raised between $1,500 and $2,999: Heike Milhench, Loren LeGassick, Will Mendonca, John Cyr, Mark Milhench, Charles Sands, Rob Schoening, and Frank Rizzotti.

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The North Team, captained by Tim Branco and Jim Smith, won the team competition, edging out the West Team (captained by Tim Burke) by three points. The East Team, captained by Frank Mahady, finished third. North Team members received $50 gift cards to the merchandise shop.

Kevin Schmidt and Shawn Walker tied for the most individual points. In Round One, Bill Berlo and Shawn Walker won closest to the pin awards, and Russ Guerreiro won longest drive. In Round Two, Paul Mignosa and Linda Bodenmann won closest to the pin awards, and Eric Kelly won longest drive.

No doubt, there were many aching bodies Wednesday morning. Some of us will have to replenish our supplies of golf balls. But it was a great day for a great cause.



Eagle Award (most corporate sponsorship dollars) – Eric Carlson

IRONMAN Award (most individual fundraising dollars) – Bob Lee

2nd Runner Up – Jeff Dirksen

3rd Runner Up – Linda Bodenmann


$1,500 – $2,999 fundraisers:

Heike Milhench

Loren LeGassick

Will Mendonca

John Cyr

Mark Milhench

Charles Sands

Rob Schoening

Frank Rizzotti


$3,000+ fundraisers

Eric Carlson

Linda Bodenmann

Jeff Dirksen

Bob Lee



Most points earned individually: Kevin Schmidt & Shawn Walker (tied)


Round 1:

Closest to the pin #16 – Bill Berlo

Closest to the pin #3 – Shawn Walker

Longest drive – Russ Guerreiro


Round 2:

Closest to the pin #16 – Paul Mignosa

Closest to the pin #3 – Linda Bodenmann

Longest drive – Eric Kelly


IRONLADY winning team: Heike Milhench & Loren LeGassick


IRONMAN team results:

1st place: North Team (Captains Tim Branco & Jim Smith) – they won by 3 points!

2nd place: West Team (Captain Tim Burke)

3rd place: East Team (Captain Frank Mahady)