By Earl Heath
By Earl Heath
It’s been proven that some men like to do things big. They drive big trucks, they eat big meals and they wear big “bling”. Sometimes big is a necessity, especially if you’re a former 300-pound NFL lineman sporting a big Super Bowl ring.
That is the way of Tony Siragusa, former Baltimore Raven. ‘The Goose’ (as known to his friends) established the Tony Siragusa Foundation. Annually the biggest fundraiser is the auction and Celebrity Golf Classic. For the sixth consecutive year the event was held at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT. Foxwoods is the biggest casino in the world. The Lake of Isles hosted the golf portion of the event.
Black Voice News takes you there
The evening began with a sour note as three people attempting to attend the event had their Learjet crash just 1800 feet short of the runway at the Groton, CT Airport. Groton is 15 minutes from Foxwoods. The three men survived the crash and were able to attend. However, the two pilots did not. Robert Janule 59 of Hampton VA and Michael Wayne Kiser 55 of Suffolk VA were both pronounced dead at the scene. Kiser had a wife and four kids and Janule had a wife and two kids.
“We’re going to start the night a little different,” said Siragusa. One of the first items up for bid was Goose’s framed and autographed 98 jersey, helmet and football. “All the proceeds from the jersey will go to the children of the two pilots. I will start the bidding at five thousand dollars,” the ‘Goose’ told the room of about 2000. “The kids lost their fathers.”
The bidding went on with bids coming from all around the room. After bidding for the first few items was completed, the total came to thirty thousand dollars. That didn’t end there. After an arousing applause, an unidentified man matched the thirty thousand to bring the total to sixty thousand dollars. All will go to the children of Kiser and Janule.
The majority of the money raised at this event goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Tony received help from the Foundation’s Vice President Phillip LaFerrera and Troy Clifton, his Executive Assistant. They were the organizers of the two-day event and made sure things ran smoothly.
‘The Goose’ had a little help from some other friends including Dan Marino who autographed several helmets and footballs and a portrait that were also auctioned off. “When Tony calls I have to come,” said the Hall of Fame QB. “He has a big heart and he attends all of my events.”
Former New York Giant Curtiss McGriff was in the house and on the golf course. The slender McGriff who won a Super Bowl in 1986 is a motivational speaker today.
Another Giant Michael Strahan joined Siragusa on stage in auctioning off several items including a Harley Davidson Motorcycle, which went for 71,000 dollars. Sterling Sharpe won a second one. The former Green Bay Packer hit the longest drive during a Sunday morning drive contest.
Harley Davidson has been a big contributor annually to the event. “Harley is big into M.D.A, that is their main charity,” said Duane Butts. “I am here on behalf of classy Harley Davidson and the Kodz family. Individual dealerships all chip in and this is a fine example of that.”
Jay Shifflet handled a lot of the cooking duties during the golf tournament. On the 9th hole Shifflet set up shop and had ribs, turkey and sausages on hand. “How could you not like ‘The Goose’,” said Shifflet. “Look at what he’s doing for them (the kids).”
Johnny Davis starred for the San Francisco 49er’s in Super Bowl XVI. “This is a great event,” said Davis. “You get a chance to meet a lot of people and it’s for a good cause, the kids.”
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