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Local businessmen honored by Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts

Dec. 11, 2013 |

From left, Jim and Barbara Sadowsky presented the prestigious Sadowsky Visionary Award to Gail Mathes (who accepted for her husband Tom Mathes), Tom Burke, and Mike O’Neill during the annual meeting of the Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts.

Reminder Publications submitted photo

GREATER SPRINGFIELD – The Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts recently presented three local businessmen with the prestigious Sadowsky Visionary Award during the Council’s annual meeting, Nov. 12. Tom Mathes, of Feeding Hills; Tom Burke, of Springfield; and Mike O’Neill of Chicopee, were the 2013 Sadowsky award recipients. Established in June 2004, the Sadowsky Visionary Award is given annually to a business or individual who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to the Jimmy Fund and the mission of Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The recipient is recognized for conceiving, leading or dedicating themselves to an event or activity that delivers annual financial support and/or long-term volunteer commitment. “These businessmen have all dedicated themselves to the Jimmy Fund,” Jim Sadowsky, award namesake and Dana-Farber trustee, said. “Tom Mathes, who is always very positive and upbeat, has helped keep our tournament healthy and vibrant. Tom Burke and Mike O’Neill were always instrumental in the success of the Dawn to Dusk tournament, but when Ken passed away they didn’t miss a beat and continued to keep the tournament alive in Ken’s memory.” Mathes, the owner of Bradley Auto Wash on Memorial Avenue in West Springfield, has been a longtime supporter and member of the Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts. He has been involved with fundraising events as a participant, volunteer, member and leader since 1997 and joined the Council in 2000. He is the chair of the Council’s golf committee, which presents the annual Jimmy Fund Golf Tournament/Jeffrey Vinick Memorial held each June. In 2013, the tournament raised $362,954 for Dana-Farber. “It’s all about helping find a cure for cancer,” Mathes said. “When it affects you personally, it really hits home and we all do this because we want to help fund research to eradicate cancer. It’s something we have to beat and along the way, you become acquainted with some wonderful people and make new, lasting friendships.” O’Neill, a golf professional at the Country Club of Wilbraham, joined the Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts in 2000. His uncle, Ken O’Neill, started an annual golf tournament after going through treatment at the Dana-Farber. Ken O’Neill’s Dawn to Dusk Golf Marathon is a 108-hole tournament that takes place every July and has been located at the Longmeadow Country Club for the past four years. Golfers are on the links from dawn to dusk to raise important dollars through sponsorships, opportunity drawings and a silent auction. In 2013, the group raised more than $28,000 and to date has donated approximately $740,000 to Dana-Farber. According to Mike O’Neill, who started helping his uncle with the tournament since its inception, the tournament has continued in Ken’s memory and will continue for many years to come. An avid runner, Mike has completed three races as part of the Dana-Farber Boston Marathon Team, most recently in 2013. “Working with the council is like having our own little family and over the past 13 years that I’ve been a member, it has made me much more aware of the disease and how people come together,” Mike O’Neill said. “Cancer has affected all of us and being on the council is a way to fight cancer and raise money for Dana-Farber. It’s something that I’ll be a part of for the rest of my life.” Burke has participated in several Jimmy Fund events throughout the years, including the Race Across America in 1998. His involvement began when his company, Burke Beverage, was a major sponsor of the Jimmy Fund Golf Tournament/Jeffrey Vinick Memorial and a friendly competitor of Jim Sadowsky, who was then president of Williams Distributing. The year prior, 1997, Burke lost both his parents, who were cancer patients and staunch supporters of the Jimmy Fund. In 1999, he joined the Jimmy Fund Council and began his involvement with the Dawn to Dusk tournament. “My dad always said ‘you can never do enough for the Jimmy Fund’ and I will continue his and my mom’s passion for supporting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,” Burke said. The Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts, a 64-member organization, produces 10 fundraising events in the region for the benefit of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. In 2013, the group raised $906,762. The volunteer-based group initiated the Sadowsky Visionary Award in honor of the dedication and commitment of Jim and Barbara Sadowsky, of East Longmeadow, to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. The list of award recipients is on display permanently in the Jimmy Fund gallery at Dana-Farber and a second award is commissioned for the recipient(s). For more information on becoming a member of the Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts, contact Barbara Sadowsky at 224-1806.

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