Sometimes with all of the discussion over multi-million dollar contracts, hirings, firings and off-field issues, we forget about what is truly great and important about sports.

It’s nice when we can experience how powerful sports can be in the community to bring people together for a good time and a good cause.

Andy Bulakowski
Andy Bulakowski

This weekend the Hammer it Home Classic pulled together about 50 people for a golf outing at Mays Landing Country Club. The event raised more than $10,000 for Special Olympics New Jersey in the process, impressive in just the third year of its existence. The Carpenters Local 255 organized the event, which they expect to continue to grow each year.

If you’re interested in donating to Special Olympics New Jersey, visit You can also get information about other fund raising events there, or find opportunities to volunteer.

I had the pleasure of taking part in this year’s Hammer it Home Classic, and meeting some of the great people involved. The participants ranged from golfers who only play a couple times a year, but circle this event on their calendar to help a good cause, to frequent golfers who are just as happy to participate. Everyone was having a great time, regardless of skill level.

It would be impossible to name everyone involved or to run through all of the great people who gave up their time to help organize the event, but Chris Vassar, of the Carpenters Local 255, headed up the efforts, while Carmen Bannon, Senior Director of Areas and Outreach at Special Olympics New Jersey, played a key role as well.


While it’s a one-day event for the players, it’s a labor of love that’s many months long for the organizers. The process of finding sponsors and donations for the auction, organizing the logistics and finding players takes quite some time.

One of the great things about the effort put in for the Hammer it Home Classic is that all of the money raised stays local, benefiting Area 8 of the Special Olympics New Jersey, which includes Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties.

Special Olympics New Jersey tries to create chances for kids and adults with intellectual disabilities to become athletes, at no cost. That’s important to families that are already dealing with the added costs of taking care of a family member with special needs. Special Olympics also aims to create a world of inclusion and acceptance for everyone, regardless of disability.

So next time you're feeling a bit jaded as a professional sports fan, find a chance to tie sports into raising money for a great cause, or just spending time with friends and family.  Maybe it'll be next year's Hammer it Home Classic, or perhaps it will be another charity event that impacts a cause that's particularly close to your heart.

Either way, it's nice to be reminded how big of an impact a day of golf, for example, can have on the lives of others.

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