Counting On Helping Hands 2009: April 28

Counting on helping hands

April 28, 2009 Show of hands.
Who out there has volunteered to do something – for free and just for the love of it Sure you have. Just like thousands and thousands of others in this region. From little projects to big ones to just making sure the next-door neighbor’s cat is fed, people in the Southern Tier and Tompkins County area believe in the power of pitching in. Like many successful regional events such as the Corning Classic, volunteers are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in the labor they pour into a project. The same goes for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open in Endicott that features Champions Tour players such as regional favorite Joey Sindelar from Horseheads. Like its predecessor, the B.C. Open, the Dick’s Open couldn’t begin to showcase pro golfers to this upstate region without volunteers. And don’t think they work just during the tournament. For many volunteers – at least those running committees – it’s a year-round commitment. Without hundreds of volunteers, Binghamton would never have been able to host the Empire State Games – three times. And Ithaca would not have been able to be home to the games twice. These major sporting events live or die in the hands of people willing to give up weeks of their lives for a great cause. Ask volunteers from the golf tournaments in Corning and Endicott what they enjoy most, and the answer is often the other volunteers they meet and work with. It’s like a big reunion that frequently spawns new and lasting friendships. The Dick’s Open is lucky. It has more than 1,000 volunteers. “We have no problem,” said Alex Alexander, executive director of the Broome County Community Charities, Inc., the financial arm of the Dick’s Open. “We’ve had a rich tradition of volunteer support.”
In Corning, that same thing could have been said at one time, but with a shrinking population and fewer people to replace the cadre of volunteers who have supported the tournament, the Classic is short of people. After 31 years in business, that’s no way to say goodbye.

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