Now in its 18th year the WNY Optics Golf Tournament has been a mainstay in our industry as a gathering of photonics professionals and an opportunity to generate financial support for the Golisano Children's hospital. The tournament started from very humble beginnings with my wife Diane and family in 2000. The goal was to find a way to pay back GCH for the wonderful care and treatment they provided for our 11 year old daughter Amanda. Each year the tournament continues to grow and today it spans 3 golf courses with over 300 golfers. The current size of the event was unfathomable back when we began and we didn't get where we are today without help.
We are deeply saddened to report that the WNY Optics family lost one our longest supporters and volunteers this past year. Mary Schulmerich was a quiet force behind the running of the tournament since the very first year.
She always had a smile and a joke for all of the participants at registration and throughout the day. Seeing Mary and her husband Red, their son Brian, and daughter Shannon walk up to the registration tables in the early mornings meant everything was under control and the day would go off without a hitch. When the evening was over and the crowds headed home, she never failed to leave without hugs and kisses for everyone. We will miss Mary dearly and we’re all comfortable knowing that she’ll be looking down on us this year and the many years to come!!
The tournament has not only grown in prominence, but has grown thanks to the generous support of companies like Universal Photonics, OptiPro and Esco Optics. Danielle Bechtold of OptiPro has become the lead organizer and has done a masterful job. Diane and I can honestly say it is no easy task coordinating an event of this size across three golf courses with attendees from all over the US and Europe.
In 2017 the WNY Optics Golf Tournament's contributions went towards outfitting a brand new NICU room in the new Golisano Children's Hospital expansion. 100% of the proceeds raised at our tournament goes to the hospital and the effects are lasting. To date we have raised over $318,000.00 and those contributions have had a unmeasurable ripple effect to the Rochester and Western NY community.
We are looking forward to this year’s tournament and hope to see you all there!!