John Blake of Brookhaven, a “lifetime member” of the Patchogue Fire Department, picked up his brand new car from Riverhead Buick GMC on Friday. He had won it at a dealership-sponsored golf fundraiser at West Sayville Golf Course back in July.
“I’ve been doing these golf outings, sponsoring them, for probably close to 20 years and we do about 15 a year,” said Tom Williams, general manager of Riverhead Buick GMC, on Friday. “This is the first time we ever had a contestant get a hole-in-one, so it’s exciting for us to actually deliver a car.”
The July 8 charity event was designed to raise funds for the Patchogue Fire Department and its volunteers. A total $15,000 was raised. Mr. Williams estimated this being about the seventh such fundraiser for the fire department.
“We all pay to go to [the] golf outings, they raise money and some people win cars,” Mr. Williams said, laughing.
As an incentive to attract golfers and keep the event light, the dealership supplies the car on a 36-month lease, insuring and covering the cost of the vehicle. The caveat? The winner must successfully nail a hole-in-one.
“We always have people get close; we’ve had them within half an inch,” he said, “but this is the first time we’ve ever given away a car.”
While Mr. Williams has only been handling the event for the last 20 years, he said he suspects it has been going on longer. Past fundraisers have focused on rotary clubs, schools and the Association of Marina Industries.
As for John Blake, the lucky winner, he said he’s been golfing for 35 years — not often, but a good amount.
“I walk up to the hole and my buddy that’s playing with me, he says, ‘JB, what are you gonna do when you get the hole-in-one and the car?’ ” Mr Blake said at the dealership Friday. “I looked at [the car] and I go, ‘Oh, I’m gonna give it to my step-son Bradley.’ Just like that, I walked up, teed up the ball and didn’t even take a practice swing — just hit the ball right into the hole.”
Mr. Blake, a retired New York City firefighter of 26 years, has volunteered for the Patchogue Fire Department for the past 40.
His step-son, he said, is soon getting married at Yosemite National Park in California, and is in need of a car.
“It’s being shipped out Friday,” Mr. Blake said. “It just was a perfect shot, you know.”
This was Mr. Blake’s first-ever hole-in-one and it happened to win him a GMC Terrain.
“It’s just something the dealership does to help support the community and the organizations within the community,” Mr. Williams said. “It’s exciting for us.”
Photo caption: John Blake, right, pictured with Tom Williams, general manager of Riverhead Buick GMC. (Credit: Mahreen Khan)