Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gill tournament 'rings' in a new year

Cranston Herald
August 11, 2010
All text and photos by Jen Cowart

A DAY TO REMEMBER: Jonathan Gill proposes to longtime girlfriend Bella Moses at the start of the golf tournament

The PS3 Ronald A. Gill Jr. Memorial Scholarship Foundation kicked off their fiscal year with the fourth annual golf tournament at Cranston Country Club on July 24.

The year’s tournament, which has been a sell-out every year, brought in 144 golfers this year and more than 200 people for the dinner, raising just under $13,000 for the scholarship fund.

The Gill Family began the Memorial Scholarship Foundation three years ago when their son Ron Gill Jr. was killed in a tragic accident while on duty with the Coast Guard in Alaska. Since its inception, the foundation had raised $70,000 in scholarship money as of June 30.

“We had more people than ever before, and this was our kick-off to start the new year,” said Ron Gill Sr. “If everything goes the way we think it will, we should exceed $100,000 next year.”

This year’s tournament was especially meaningful and yet very difficult for Ronnie’s family because July 21 would have been his 30th birthday.

“Although this event is a tremendous success and the primary fundraiser, I think you all know where we would rather be,” said Ron. “Never in a million years did we think we’d be spending Ronnie’s 30th birthday visiting him at the cemetery.”

A bright spot occurred on that day, however, when Ronnie’s brother, Jonathan, proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Bella Moses, on the golf green at the start of the golf tournament.

“That was a special moment; she was very surprised,” said Ron.

The golf tournament began with a full lunch sponsored by Shaw’s, and after a full day of golfing (despite a rain shower before the back nine), a full dinner was served at Cranston Country Club, another one of the foundation’s generous supporters.

Businesses and individuals around the state support the foundation events, donating services, raffle items, even golf tees for the golfers.

Mayor Allan Fung was ready to spend his day golfing for a good cause that afternoon.

“It’s a beautiful day for this fantastic event. I’m happy to be able to support the Gill family and foundation,” the mayor said. “They do so many wonderful things for Cranston and our students. I hope we raise lots of money for the foundation so we can help even more Cranston students in the future.”

The golf tournament is just the beginning, and two more events are close on the horizon.

On Saturday, Aug. 14, Christopher’s Cranston Deli and Pub at 1458 Park Ave. will be donating 20 percent of all proceeds from noon to 6 p.m. to the foundation, as well as tips from “celebrity” bartenders Barbara Dardeen and Tara Harrington.

On Sunday, Aug. 15, The Tavern in Framingham, Mass. will be hosting a “Meat Shoot” to benefit the foundation at 2 p.m.

“These are our two newest events,” said Gill. “Kelsey DeJesus, one of our scholarship recipients, always works so hard to come up with new ideas, and these were her ideas.”

Gill noted that Tommy’s Pizza also raised a great deal of money for the scholarship fund on July 6, when a portion of all proceeds that afternoon went to the foundation.

“They sold 226 pizzas alone that day,” Gill said proudly. “It was extremely successful.”

The Foundation has all of its usual events planned for the upcoming year, as well as a new event planned for Saturday, Sept. 17. Witzend will be holding a benefit concert at Cranston Country Club from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. A minimum $5 donation will be taken at the door and Cranston Country Club will offer free pizza, calzones and sandwiches until 10:30 that evening.

“The band has been around for years and they approached us and said they’d like to do a benefit concert for us,” Gill said. “They’re donating all of their time. If this goes well, it’ll become a regular fall fundraiser for us.”

Ed Hanley of the Cranston Country Club summed up the Gills’ dedication to their son’s memorial scholarship foundation and Ron’s never-ending efforts for the foundation when he welcomed everyone to the tournament.

“I’d like to thank you all for coming today. This man puts in 110 percent every year,” Hanley said.

For more information on the upcoming PS3 Ron Gill Jr. Memorial Foundation events, visit their website at

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