Chief of Police Benefit Golf Tourney tees off

By Denise Cathey

Staff Photographer

The assembled teams of golfers, joking with each other as they load up their golf carts just moments ago, turn silent, bowing their heads Saturday morning as Brownsville Police Department Sgt. David Deleon leads them in prayer before the National Anthem plays at the Brownsville Golf Center.

Then the music turns to a high-energy mashup of pop music and heavy beats, and the golfers hop into their carts and hit the 18-hole course to make their 9 am tee off for the start of the 18th Annual Chief of Police Benefit Golf Tournament.

The tournament serves as the primary fundraiser for the Brownsville Police Department’s community projects and events over the coming year. While the department holds other fundraising events — a Bowling tournament and chicken plate sales — this event is what will provide the bulk of the resources for their projects.

“This is our big fundraiser for the year. This event is what lets us set aside the funds for our community projects throughout the year— and, of course, our Christmas toy giveaway, ”Organizer and Community Affairs Liasion Nancy Garza Alanis said.

According to Alanis, their toy giveaway usually serves 2,000 to 3,000 children ages 12 and under each year by providing gifts and a holiday atmosphere for those who might otherwise have a difficult holiday season at Christmastime.

It takes a year for the department to organize each tournament— this year, they’ll start preparing for the next as soon as Monday— to arrange for the many sponsors and teams needed to keep the event going.

Each team of golfers pays $ 300, some Sponsored by local companies and organizations, to take a swing at the 18-hole course. As they play, Golfers compete both as a team and as individuals for the hefty cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. To place, the team needs to have the best overall score; individuals compete for the Longest drive and closest to the pin. 1st place takes home $ 600 and a Trophy, while 2nd and 3rd have $ 450 and $ 300 cash prizes.

With sponsorships from local companies and community members, the event provides Raffles and door prizes throughout the day, alongside drinks, snacks and lunch for the competitors.

Despite the prizes, for golfer Ronnie Rodriguez the tournament is less about winning but seeing familiar faces and giving back. His team, Sponsored by Charro Days Fiesta Inc., inside this as a way to help out for a department that always lends a hand during Charro Days Fiesta.

“They helped us out a lot during that time, so we thought we’d come back and help them,” Rodriguez said.

Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda enjoys seeing a return to the tournament after two years of cancellations due to COVID-19. Getting people back together to help the department’s programs is something to celebrate for him to come together as community members giving back to their own.

“This is something at the core of what we do. It gives us the ability to be able to serve the community in the ways that we do, ”Sauceda said.

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