The Department for Persons with Disabilities’ (DPD) Wiegand Farm Golf Classic, was held on Monday, June 26th at Crystal Springs Resort.

DPD is a Catholic Charities Agency in the Diocese of Paterson that helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Four of their group homes and their vocational day program, Gruenert Center, is located in Jefferson Township.

More than 300 golfers registered for the Wiegand, as both Wild Turkey Golf Course and all 27 holes at Crystal Springs were utilized. Twenty golfers even went over to play at Ballyowen in another event.  Next year, DPD plans to fully add Ballyowen Golf Course to give event participants more options and excitement.

“The Wiegand Farm Golf Classic is now one of the biggest, if not the biggest golf outing, in all of New Jersey.  Five years ago, this event hosted 68 golfers and each year more and more supporters have come out.  It is humbling to see the immense support for our cause and mission,” said Chris Brancato, Event Coordinator and DPD Development Director.

“Before teeing off, the line of golf carts, filled with DPD supporters, was amazing to watch.  I have never seen so many people at a golf outing.  It was really something special to be part of,” said Mike Garrigan, golf outing participant.

In addition to golf, DPD raised over $15,000 on their silent auction, with over 120 prizes.  They also gave away a $10,500 MEGA 50/50 prize. Mike and Barbara Renaldo of Wayne were the lucky winners. The Renaldos are longtime volunteers for DPD, who had just celebrated their 60th anniversary on the Friday before the event. “Sixty years of beautiful marriage, and one of the biggest blessings of our life was volunteering for Sue Anne and John of DPD,” said Mike Renaldo.

The day was made extra special by Miss New Jersey USA Chhavi Verg, who spent the day with “Miss DPD”, Gina, from Wehrlen House. “It was such a pleasure being involved with this event. Gina was an all star and I was proud to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Chhavi.

In addition, Tito’s Handmade Vodka; Total Wellness, Lake Hopatcong; Northeastern Spine & Physical Therapy; Horizon Health NJ’s Mobile Health Unit, Portraits by Sergio and Larry Forno, Audi Of Mendham, all came out to the event to provide giveaways and contests.

DPD had over 50 Volunteers who helped at the Wiegand including Patrick, Anthony, Bill, Billy, Gina, John and Seby who live in DPD’s group homes and supervised apartments.

DPD recognized several honorees at the award ceremony and banquet following golf.  Monsignor John Hart, the Pastor of Assumption Parish in Morristown, was named the Dominick Calabrese Humanitarian of the Year. Bishop Emeritus Frank Rodimer presented Monsignor Hart with the Award. “The love and support shown for Monsignor Hart at our event, by his parishioners and friends, is a true testament to the wonderful person he is. We can’t thank him enough for his kindness, generosity and all he does for our organization and throughout the Diocese of Paterson,” said Scott Milliken, DPD Executive Director.

The Department also honored John Butler as their Knight of Columbus of the Year. The Knights are the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the world, helping raise over $3 million for the Department throughout their 50-year history. John has supported DPD as a board member, benefactor, fundraiser, and Brother Knight. Past State Deputy of the New Jersey Knights of Columbus Tom Ciborski presented this award alongside current State Secretary Bob Hatler.

DPD also honored Sgt. William Hollar and the NJ State Police in Sussex County as their Jack Kelly Community Leadership Award recipients. This award was presented by event founder Jack Kelly and Lt. Paul Castimore from the Jefferson Township Police Department.

Finally, DPD Executive Director Scott Milliken was presented with a plaque by past Board President Joe Duffy for 25 years of service to the DPD Family.

The Wiegand Farm Golf Classic brought in 275 sponsors and donors who helped raise over $115,000 (net).

Major Sponsors included Event Sponsors Lakeland Bank and Eastern Propane; Diamond Driver Sponsors Assumption Parish, Morristown and iHeartMedia Inc., Sussex County; Platinum Putter Sponsors Arthur J. Gallagher and Co.; Private Advisor Group; Horizon Health, NJ; and Frank and Mimi Walsh; ShopRite (SRS); Liberty Capital Group; National Retail Systems; Mary C. Pascarella, CFP; and our over two dozen Titanium Tee ($1,000 level) Sponsors.

“Our Golf Committee has helped this event grow from a 68-person outing in 2011 to one of the largest golf outings in the entire state of New Jersey! Special thanks to the founder of this event, Jack Kelly, who has been with us throughout all 43 of our Wiegands; Monsignor John Hart and the Assumption Family for their support of the DPD Family; Denis and Denise Avagliano whose advocacy and leadership has helped this event flourish; and People need Friends Volunteer Jenn Minervino who helped us raise nearly $10,000 on individual pledges and silent auction items. We would also like to thank all of the golfers who came out to this event. Thank you for supporting our cause and for your kindness and willingness to make a difference,” Brancato concluded.

To volunteer for or learn more about DPD visit www.dpd.org.

Story and Photos submitted by Chris Brancato, Director of Development and Public Relations for the Department of Persons with Disabilities.

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