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Bowling tournament raises money for vets
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Friday, 20 January 2012 00:00

A lot of talk gets thrown around about “supporting the troops.” Later this month, people in the Verde Valley will have the opportunity to put those words into action.

For the third year in a row, organizers are gearing up for the annual BeneVet Bowling Tournament, set this year for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28 and 29, at Cliff Castle Casino.

Business owners Robert, left, and Sherry Church will increase their sponsorship from four teams to 10 this year in the BeneVet Bowling Tournament, which takes place in Camp Verde on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28 and 29. The event also honors their son, Phillip Rodriguez, 19, center, who leaves for Army basic training on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The annual event raises money for U.S. veterans’ services locally.The tournament raises funds through registrations, raffles and other prizes and donates all the proceeds to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Prescott and Northern Arizona veterans organizations.

This year’s goal is to raise enough money to buy a rehabilitation step machine for the VA Medical Center, said Mike Jacobson, a chief organizer of the tournament.

“It’s kind of a neat thing for the community to get behind,” Jacobson said.

There’s also bowling for kids involved.

“We try and make it an event everyone can come and enjoy,” Jacobson said.

A mobile office that addresses veterans’ issues will also be on hand to help veterans and their families cut through some of the massive red tape that can await them when trying to figure out what services and benefits are available.

Jacobson said he remembers the bureaucratic obstacles and lack of available information he encountered when he returned from Vietnam and something like this mobile office can be a tremendously helpful resource.

The tournament is a little extra special this year, because it’s also serving as a going away and good luck party for Phillip Rodriquez, a local 19-year-old who is getting ready to head off to the Army on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

His mother, Sherry Church, has sponsored 10 bowling teams this year and plans to gather with her son and some of his friends for a celebration at the tournament.

Church said her son had been talking about joining the military for a couple of years and more recently got very serious about it.

“We’re very proud of him,” Church said.

Church said she’s been involved with the tournament before through her and her husband’s business that makes trophies and signs, but she decided to expand her involvement this year since it’s a special occasion.

“It’s really important that we do what we can to support our troops and our country,” Church said.

Donations to the cause are tax deductible, and the event is still looking for more sponsors and teams to register.

If a business or other group would like to sponsor the tournament’s special T-shirt and get their name on the tournament’s T-shirt, a $100 check can be made out to the American Legion Post No. 92 and mailed to Michael Jacobson, 502 Pheasant Run Circle, Camp Verde, AZ 86322, or call Jacobson for information at 567-9125.

Starting times are staggered throughout both days of the event, with the first check-in beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.

Saturday starts with mixed organizational challenge, for clubs, fire departments and other groups, followed by mixed team group and singles handicap matches.

Sunday’s schedule is similar, but it starts off with a bit of “cosmic bowling” at the bowling alley.


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