When Pacific resident Mike O’Rourke learned in 2011 that Scott Cooksey, a wounded veteran, needed a van adapted so he could drive with his hands, he knew he had to do something.
An avid pool player, O’Rourke turned to friends, John and Concetta Pedrolie, who operate JP’s Sport Bar and Grill in Eureka, asking if he could use their four pool tables to organize a pool tournament to help Cooksey with a vehicle.
The tournament, which was held at JP’s March 5, 2011, was so successful the trio decided to do it again.
O’Rourke and his wife, Diana, a friend of Boy Scout Troop 329 Pacific, have organized a dozen tournaments, which attract 30 or 40 serious pool players, and some novices to raise funds for worthy causes.
Three years ago, O’Rourke dedicated the twice-yearly tournaments to Gordon W. Niehoff. A plaque on the wall at JPs holds the names of the of the last five tournament winners.
Last week, O’Rourke and Pedrolie presented a check for $1,153 to Jim Trombley, a veteran whose disability is related to his tour of service. Trombley needed adaptive equipment so he could drive his Ford Expedition with his hands.
Occasionally, the popular tournaments benefit others. At one tournament the proceeds went to a child who needed a stem cell transplant.
Next month, O’Rourke and the Pedrolies will host an eight-ball tournament to benefit the Historic First Baptist Church restoration project in Pacific.
“When I learned about trying to save the old church I knew I wanted to help,” O’Rourke said. “I asked John and Concetta and they were immediately on board. They have very big hearts and any idea I have come up with they have said yes.”
For more information about the March 3 tournament contact O’Rourke at 314-303-7105.