James Madison University

PA Golf Tournament Raises Funds for Charity

By: Vilina Phan
Posted: February 15, 2013

PHOTO: Golfers Chip for CharityWinding down the golf season last October was the first annual JMU Golf Scramble hosted by the Physician Assistant Student Society (PASS), comprised of JMU physician assistant (PA) students. On the fundraising chair and responsible for setting up the tournament were Nick Calabrese and Marie Veldhuyzen.

“We wanted to do something different from the past...we both had a passion for sports and saw it as great way to make some money for a good cause,” said Calabrese.

The event was held at Lakeview Golf Club due to the club’s experience with hosting tournaments and its convenient location. Each team comprised of four players. The cost to participate per team was $300 which included greens fees, carts, and lunch. A portion of the proceeds were donated to the Rockingham Memorial Hospital Hahn Cancer Center.

Calabrese and Veldhuyzen managed to successful plan the tournament in just four weeks, registering five teams for the event. The smaller crowd allowed them to interact with all the players, turning a competition into an outing with friends.

“There was one team where all the members were from different states and they all flew or drove in for the event,” said Veldhuyzen.

Fewer participants meant that everyone was able to walk away with a prize, which ranged from passes to Massanutten Resort to free rounds of miniature golf at Mulligan's Golf Center. It also meant that there was plenty of food, homemade by PASS members, leaving everyone content with the afternoon.

Veldhuyzen and Calabrese were also able to obtain hole sponsors from various organizations such as the Speech and Language Center in Harrisonburg and Piedmont Paint and Finish. The organizations were featured at different holes throughout the course.

The golf scramble held on October 14th is the first of many to come. Calabrese and Veldhuyzen are looking to make the event biannual, where a portion of the profits will be donated to a local clinic.  

“We want to reach out and help the community, as health professionals it’s important to give back,” said Veldhuyzen.

Veldhuyzen graduated from George Mason University in 2001 with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Medical Technology. She started her career working in hospital labs, but desired the experience of patient care. This led her to volunteer as an emergency medical technician (EMT) leading her down the path to the JMU Masters PA program.

Calabrese had been interested in the PA field since high school and volunteered as an EMT in Harrisonburg while earning his Bachelor’s degree in Biology at JMU. Already familiar with the JMU culture, it was only natural that Calabrese chose to earn his masters at his alma mater.

Calabrese and Veldhuyzen are both first year PA students.

“The first semester of the PA program is the hardest in terms of amount of work and academic rigor, but the golf tournament offered a break from the mayhem,” said Calabrese.

Looking forward Calabrese and Veldhuyzen both want the event to be bigger in scale. With a plan to start the process earlier, they said “we want to reach out to other societies that have an interest in golf... we just have to find the people who like golf and are supportive of our program.”


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