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Golfers tee off for local hospital

Golf: Event raises nearly $285,000 for community hospital

Posted: June 6, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Updated: June 6, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Left to right, the first-place net team of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital’s charity tournament included Steve Ortiz, Brett Byrd, Mark Savage, Mark Nikander and Kyle Smith.

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A sold-out tournament and generous sponsors made for a successful Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital/Frontier Toyota Drive Safe Golf Tournament at Valencia Country Club. Now in its 37th year, the tournament raised nearly $285,000 for the hospital's emergency room and trauma services.

After thanking the sponsors, golfers and volunteers, Roger Seaver, Newhall Memorial president and chief executive officer, praised one sponsor in particular during the awards ceremony.

"Joe Caso and Frontier Toyota have supported our ER and trauma center for 14 years. We owe a lot to Joe and his support," Seaver said.

Caso stood to applause before taking the stage and addressing the crowd.

"We have fantastic facilities at the hospital with some of the best physicians in California. I want to thank you all for coming out today and supporting the hospital," Caso said. "Please give generously."

Guests responded by bidding on dozens of items in the silent auction, as well as 20 luxurious prizes in the rousing live auction, led by Bob Hudson, Newhall Memorial chief financial officer.

A yearlong membership at Valencia Country Club brought in top dollar with a $6,700 final bid, while vacation packages in Cabo San Lucas, Santa Barbara and Big Bear were also popular.

Other auctioned items included a $1,900 donation for a framed signed jersey from Kobe Bryant, an exclusive Chef's Table dinner for eight at Valencia's Vines Restaurant for $2,000, and a mini-tournament for 15 at Valencia Country Club brought in $2,500.

"Our goal was to raise $300,000. Thankfully, we are almost there with all your help," said tournament co-chairman Chris Luechtefeld to cheers from the audience. "Thank you very much."

Just prior to the catered dinner by Rattler's, guests were riveted during the dramatic helicopter ball drop, when hundreds of marked golf balls spilled from the hovering craft over a tee on the greens. Ball numbers were purchased at $20 each, and the closest-to-the-pin winners could receive $50,000 first-place prize; $2,000 for second place and $500 for third place.

Second-place prize-winner Travis Salter donated his winnings back to the hospital. "(Newhall Memorial) has a lot of experience doing great things for the community. This money is better served going back to their folds," he said.

Earlier in the day, 36 teams played the award-winning course, with team 3A, consisting of Brett Byrd, Mark Nikander, Steve Ortiz, Mark Savage and Kyle Smith emerging victorious for the first place net win.

The tournament also boasted its best ever attendance by hospital physicians, with seven five-somes taking to the greens. The team of Tony Avakian, D.P.M., Jeff Bowne, D.C., Josh Mitchell, D.C., Tom Piazza and Dewey D. Pillai, M.D. won the Perpetual Physician's Trophy.

"Today, we have a full service emergency and trauma center with 36 beds, modern facilities and equipment," Seaver said. "The sponsors, players and bidders here today have all contributed to the continued success of this valley's only emergency and trauma center."

For more information about the Henry Mayo/Frontier Toyota Drive Safe Golf Tournament, call the Foundation office at (661) 200-1200 or visit


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