In their second annual golf tournament, the Boles Firefighters Association volunteers netted almost $8,593.

Three of the volunteers appeared at the Boles Fire District Labadie Station Monday, Nov. 26, to present the proceeds to Tim Baker, Tri-County Senior Center president, and Jeannie Guffey, the center’s executive director.

When the association hosted its first golf tournament in 2012, the members and four friends, Sheila Vogelgesang, Sheila Villhard, Meaghan Villhard and Bev Clements, found a hobby that they felt was really worthwhile.

“We all need to be doing something that makes life better for someone else,” Vogelgesang said. “We have received many gifts in life and we need to share them with others.”

This year’s tournament was held Oct. 20 at Meramec Lakes Golf Course, St. Clair. Sponsors were Boles Firefighters Association, Wayside Inc. Villa Ridge, Wayside South, Catawissa and USA Mobil Truck and Trailer Repair. A total of 13 teams competed.

Last year the golf tournament netted $10,000, which was donated to Missouri Children’s Camp.

The golf tournaments are such a good way to provide community support for entities like the burn center and the senior center that Boles Firefighters Association was happy to become a permanent sponsor, according to Jim Casey, Boles fire chief.

The fire district represents an area of 70 square miles in northeast Franklin County, unincorporated communities of Gray Summit, Villa Ridge, Labadie and St. Albans.

“Basically the district was founded to serve the Boles township voting area,” Casey said. “That’s how the name of the district was chosen.”

The district and the firefighters association, he said, want to be visible in the community in any effort that serves the organizations that provide services, such as the burn center or the senior center.

“The volunteers are great to work with,” Casey said. “When they came to us with the idea of an annual community golf tournament benefit we thought it was a great idea.”

Golf tournaments are nothing new to Vogelgesang, who owns the Wayside, Villa Ridge, and Wayside South, Catawissa, stores.

“I’ve been doing them for years,” she said. “My kids only play golf for the tournaments. They love doing it and want us to keep going.”

Vogelgesang and her friends asked the firefighters to sponsor the tournament because they needed a not-for-profit organization to accept donated funds and to monitor the funds.

“The volunteers don’t take a dime,” Vogelgesang said. “In fact, we donate to the event.”

All food and drink also are donated. The only cost to operate the tournament is the charge of the golf course.

“Every dime we take in goes to the selected recipient,” Vogelgesang said. “We chose the Pacific senior center this year because it doesn’t get any federal or state money and it provides needed services for a special group of citizens.”

In accepting the check, Baker echoed Vogelgesang’s remarks, saying the funds are important to the senior citizens who come to the Tri-County Senior Center every weekday for lunch. Since the Pacific center began doing its own cooking, the number of individuals who eat daily lunch there has grown.

“We presently serve lunch to about 50 people a day,” Baker said. “I eat there often.”

The cost to seniors is $3.75. Individuals 55 and older pay $6.

“It’s a really good meal,” Baker said. “If you find yourself in the area at 11:30 any weekday, stop by for lunch.”

The senior center building is a home away from home for many of the regular patrons. Doors open at 8 a.m. and dominoes begin at 9 a.m.

“For some of our seniors the lunch at the senior center is the only hot meal they receive,” Baker said. “In the seven years since the center opened, we notice that some of the waistlines have expanded.”

Events like the Boles Firefighters Association annual golf tournament are important to organizations that rely on donations for operating funds, Baker said.

“We receive some assistance from the city of Pacific and the United Way,” he said. “But our annual budget is about $80,000 a year and we have to do a lot of fundraising.”

Baker said working at the senior center has been one of the most satisfying endeavors of his life. When it comes to everyday life, what goes on at the senior center is where the rubber meets the road, he said.

People come together there every day for dominoes, card games and blood pressure checks, he noted.

“There is little doubt that the senior center makes a great contribution to the lives of patrons,” he added.

The center also tries to repay the community by providing space for community programs like East Central College GED class.

“Every year we do a first responders appreciation day,” Baker told the firefighters. “We hope some of you will come by for it.”

Baker said the center also is working with the Meramec Valley School District to have some of its A+ students to do some of their community service hours there.

“Already the Health Occupations students work there,” he said.

The center is not just for seniors,” Baker noted. “The public is invited to come there for a lunch.

For more information about the senior center call 636-257-6264.