Photo credit: Chris Brancato/Department for Persons with Disabilities

Patrick Manogue stood overlooking the 10th hole at Berkshire Valley Golf Course in Jefferson Township before the start of the 40th Annual Wiegand Farm Golf Classic. “What a great day for golf,” he exclaimed.

Patrick has attended the event throughout the last several years. “I love to golf.  I love to meet new people and I love to thank them for all of their help,” he said.  Patrick happens to have a developmental disability and lives at DPD’s Finnegan House in Jefferson Township.

The Wiegand Farm Classic is a charity event held each year in June benefiting the Department for Persons with Disabilities (DPD).  DPD is a Catholic Charities Agency based out of Jefferson, serving over 100 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Four of DPD’s group homes and their Gruenert Center Day program are based out of Jefferson Township.

This years event will be held on Monday, June 26, 2017 at a new venue, Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, New Jersey. You can see more details on the event listing.

The funds raised on the event help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Morris, Passaic and Sussex County. The 43rd  annual event will be held at a new venue, Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County.  Golfers will be able to choose between Crystal Springs and Wild Turkey Golf Course.

“We decided to move the event to Crystal Springs from Bowling Green and Berkshire Valley in Jefferson. Through the years both of these venues have worked hard and have helped us take this event to new heights. We try to move the event every five years or so, and it was time for a bigger venue that can accommodate more people.  We hope to expand the event even further in future years,” said Scott Milliken, DPD Executive Director.

All proceeds from the event will support Patrick and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Wiegand Farm Golf Classic is DPD’s largest fundraiser. Last year, the event drew a remarkable 255 golfers and raised over $100,000 for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

This year DPD will honor Monsignor John Hart, of Assumption Parish in Morristown, DPD Board Member John Butler, and the New Jersey State Police in Sussex County at this event.  Each have made various contributions to make a difference in the lives of people with special needs in Jefferson and beyond.

Save the date: Monday, June 26, 2017: 43rd Annual Wiegand Farm Golf Classic

“I have been involved with many charity outings through the years and the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic is one of the most successful I have ever seen.  This is a testament to the wonderful work that is done at DPD,” said Joe Duffy, Past President of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson.

Patrick is known by many for participating in the Department’s Annual Wiegand Farm Golf Classic. “Each year, Patrick greets golfers on the course and thanks them for their support.  Patrick is so proud to stand as an ambassador for DPD and greatly enjoys the day.  Patrick helps teach the participants, some of whom are new to the cause, about what we do,” said DPD’s Development Director Chris Brancato.

Charity outings, like the Wiegand Farm Golf Classic have become part of the season for golfers around New Jersey and the United States.  There are nearly 150,000 events throughout the United States each year and competition can at times be fierce, yet the Department has seen a steady growth in attendance throughout the last several years.

“In 2010, we had 68 golfers and raised just over $10,000.  Now, we have moved to a huge venue and hope to host over 250 golfers.  We are humbled by the communities involvement and generosity,” said Brancato.

Patrick had always lived at home with his mother, Jean.  “There were a few instances in which Patrick had the opportunity to move in to one of DPD’s group homes, but I always said ‘he’s not ready yet.’ I guess I was just scared about having Patrick live on his own.  Now, Patrick has lived at DPD for three years, and I can honestly say that I feel like I have hit the lottery,” said Jean.

DPD provides support for adults with developmental disabilities and their families. DPD operates 10 group homes, two supervised apartments and a vocational day program for people with special needs throughout Morris, Passaic, and Sussex County. There are over 8,000 people with developmental disabilities on a waiting list to get into programs like those operated by DPD.

Patrick moved to Finnegan House in August of 2012 with help from his mother and some of his friends from Gruenert Center. “After his room was all set up and his things were put away he said ‘I’m excited, I’m in my new home, I know I’m going to love it here!’ Patrick was proud to live on his own and made himself at home instantaneously, ” said Shea Curtis, Finnegan House Program Assistant.

Patrick attends work each day at the Department’s Gruenert Center in Lake Hopatcong and is a member of the Art Group and the Community Cleaning Crew there.  He belongs to the Respect Support Group where he listens and offers compassion and learned advice. He is also part of the Fight for the Right Community Service Group where he volunteers his time to give back to the community.

“Patrick loves deeply, has a kind heart and works hard.  He is always smiling and complementing others.  We at DPD are blessed to have him as part of our family,” said Milliken.

When asked about the Department’s keys to success Brancato said, “We have a dedicated board of trustees and golf committee who have reached out to their friends and colleagues for help.  Each year, we contact all of the golfers at the event to try and bring on new committee members. We have changed the mentality of planning for the outing; rather than doing all of the preparation a few weeks before the event, we plan throughout the year.  We do post event surveys and try to improve the event each year and try to offer something new at each outing.  As more people attend the outing, it becomes a more appealing sponsorship opportunity for local businesses and larger companies.”

Lakeland Bank and Eastern Propane will be returning as the Event Sponsors and iHeartMedia will be one of the Diamond Level Sponsors.

“DPD does a fantastic job with the outing that continues to grow each year. We are proud to be their corporate partners,” said Lakeland Bank Vice President Russell Dunn.

“Relatively speaking, we are a smaller nonprofit organization and rely on the help of volunteers to help make the outing a success.  The next step for this event is to reach out to larger corporations for partnership, while maintaining a friendly event that is appealing to everyone,” said Brancato.

The Wiegand Farm Golf Classic Committee and the Department for Persons with Disabilities is in need of help with the 2017 event.  You do not have to be a golfer to make a difference. Anyone wishing to golf, sponsor the event, donate silent auction items or join the committee, contact Chris Brancato at 973-406-1104 or at Chrisb@dpd.org.

You can also go to the outing’s website at www.dpd.org/wiegand.  Your support will help make a difference in the lives of Patrick and many others.

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