People who know Larry Reynolds of Bangor understand what a great conversationalist he is. Get him started and it’s sometimes hard to get him to stop, especially when he’s talking about a subject close to his heart: cancer and children.
A retired educator and avid golfer, Larry is a five-year cancer survivor and, for three of those years, has made a one-man commitment to help children with cancer go to summer camp. For free.
I wrote in a previous column about the Third Ever Larry Reynolds Charity Golf Tournament beginning with registration at 7:15 a.m. and a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Friday, June 18, at Hermon Meadow Golf Course.
All proceeds help children and teens diagnosed with cancer attend the American Cancer Society’s Camp Rainbow which, this year, is June 27-July 3, at Camp Jordan on Branch Lake in Ellsworth.
And here’s the best part: Openings still are available, so call the ACS in Topsham at 800-227-2345 for information.
This is Larry’s tournament. It’s a one-man operation. He does all the legwork, “but it’s a lot of fun and I get a lot of satisfaction out of it.”
“It cleanses me,” he told me recently.
When he said that, Larry became unusually quiet, and a bit misty-eyed. For good reason.
“I’m one of the lucky guys,” he said. “I’m living my mulligan every day.”
In golf, a mulligan is a second chance to retake a bad shot.
Having made it through radiation and surgery for head and neck cancer, Larry knows about second chances. He’s using his to help others.
And while this tournament is a one-man effort, it’s definitely not a one-man show.
Knocking on doors and making calls to business and franchise owners have reaffirmed his belief in the goodness of Mainers.
“The response by businesses has been overwhelming; in all the area communities,” Larry said. “It’s a nice, genuine feeling, what people are willing to do.
“Here we are, in little old Bangor, and everyone is just chipping in.”
Sponsors are providing everything from snacks to silent auction items, prizes for a variety of golf contests and even giving employees the opportunity to volunteer at the tournament, which Larry thinks is absolutely wonderful.
“I can’t be everywhere,” he said, “so it’s just great that there are lots of people to help out.”
If you’ve never played in a golf tournament before, this would be a good one to start with.
“It’s not a big tournament,” Larry said. “We just want people to go out there and have fun.
“There’s no pressure, but, you know, every time we make $390, that’s a kid going to Camp Rainbow for free.
“That’s why I’m so happy people are just donating like they are.”
In three years, with your participation and the support of area businesses, Larry’s tournament has raised $11,000 for Camp Rainbow.
Those funds enable children age 4 through high school, diagnosed with cancer, and their siblings, to enjoy everything Camp Jordan has to offer.
Children can hike, swim, kayak and tell tall tales around campfires. And while Maine children are given preference, out-of-staters are welcome to apply.
The fee for Larry’s tournament is $75. You can register or receive information by calling him at 945-3339 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can’t attend but want to help, make a check out to the ACS and mail it to Larry Reynolds, 131 Maple St., Bangor, ME 04401.