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In A Time Of Need Golf Gives Back

Wing Night collage (Robbie Dean Centre, FB)

Wing Night Raises Funds For Renfrew County Mental Health Resource

Pembroke, Ontario – You have very clear choices in times of adversity. You can give up or choose to find a way to push onward.

It’s a decision presented to many around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic, and one some golf courses have faced it with the most positive of responses.

Some Eastern Ontario golf clubs turned their attention outward recently, recognizing that while they face uncertain times, there are others in their communities that have it worse.

Winging It

In the midst of a pandemic that creates an uncertain path for his own business, Dan Shields made a choice. The golf professional and owner of the Pembroke Golf Club and Island Brae Golf Club in the Upper Ottawa Valley of Ontario is unsure of when he can welcome golfers again, but that did not deter him from finding a way to help others who may have greater upheaval in their lives.

While he has concern about his current situation, Shield admits the golf industry is often one that does not always follow a predictable path. In 2019, while other courses were getting their season underway, his Pembroke course, located next to the Ottawa River, was under water. But when he did open at the start of last June, the golfers flooded in and he turned the season around.

An about-face was what he was hoping for, in even a small way, with his recent initiative.

Instead of just thinking about his own operations, Shields had another local one in his thoughts, the Robbie Dean Centre.

The counselling centre is a community-funded operation that opened in Pembroke in 2013 and provides mental health services for those living in Renfrew County. At the best of times there is a high demand for their work. In the current world health situation, that’s expected to swell.

Which is why Shields and those around them had them in mind lately.

“We knew they had a few fundraisers cancelled so we thought we could do something good for them and community,” Shields shared by phone.

Normally used to being able to put on a golf event to help, Shields turned to his only available resource during this time of government-enforced business restraint, his kitchen.

At his Pembroke facility Shields has teamed up with Monica Katsoulis of The Kitchen Eatery and Catering Company for his food services. It’s been a successful partnership, and on April 29th they extended that positivity in another way.

The pair decided to host a curb-side pick-up Wing Night with a part of the proceeds going to the Robbie Dean Centre. They received plenty of reinforcement from their staff, friends, and family in the process.

To say it was a success would be an understatement.

After getting word out, the orders poured in.

Two hundred and fifty pounds of wings later (that about 2800 of the delicious morsels), and with the extra donation of $300 by Pat Hahn and Terry Picard of Kings Sports, $1700 was raised to assist the Robbie Dean Centre.

“To everyone who placed an order, worked inside cooking and outside in the cold to make sure wings were safely delivered with social distancing – THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!,” the Centre shared on of their Facebook page.

Shields was equally thrilled.

“It went fantastic; I was not sure we could pull it off,” said the tired but elated golf pro the day after. “The response was tremendous and people were great with the drive-through, keeping socially distant, but happy to see friendly faces.”

He added, “We have a great community here. People want to do things to help each other, and we’re lucky to be part of it. The Robbie Dean Centre does great things here; we’re just happy to return the support any way we can.”

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