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Raising Awareness golf tournament a great success

Thursday June 28, 2012
photos by Lenny Carpenter/ Wawatay News

George Sakchekapo of Sioux Lookout celebrates a birdie he earned for Team Wasaya with a fist pump.
photos by Lenny Carpenter/ Wawatay News

Jonathan Kakegamic tees off. The DFC principal and his team finished second in the Raising Awareness tournament. All funds raised from the tournament go towards DFC’s treatment and aftercare program.
photos by Lenny Carpenter/ Wawatay News
Lloyd Wabigwan of Namaygoosisgagun First Nation winds up to chip onto the green as Lex Paavola looks on.

More than 110 golfers teed off at the 2nd annual Raising Awareness Golf Tournament at the Fort William Country Club in Thunder Bay on June 22.

Twenty-eight teams squared off in the tournament that was aimed at raising awareness of the prescription drug abuse plaguing First Nations communities in northern Ontario.

Tournament co-organizer Travis Boissoneau said the turnout exceeded their expectations, as last year they had 90 participants and raised $5,000.

“Overall, I think we exceeded last year, which was the main goal: to bigger and bigger each year,” he said.

Boissoneau, of Garden River First Nation, said co-organizer Mike McKay of Bearskin Lake initiated the idea last year to raise awareness of the prescription drug abuse issue.

“We all have connections to the experience, having family and friends affected by it,” he said. “We wanted to shed light on the issue and get a high turnout and bring the community together.”

Boissoneau said they also wanted to bring attention to the work Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School is doing with their drug treatment and aftercare program, which has treated 35 students to date and has developed a fluid model supported by various communities. All funds raised go to the programs.

The team of Kevin McKay, Jade Windego, Jere Windego and Garret Ugrey won the tournament. The tournament also gave prizes to the second (DFC) and third place (Matawa) finishers, along with raffle prizes.

Eight volunteers helped out with the day’s events.

Boissoneau said participants provided positive feedback on the tournament and everyone had fun interacting out on the course.

“We exceeded our goals: to get people together and have some fun for a more common purpose,” he said.

The day concluded with a dinner, where Boissoneau asked former NAN grand chief Charles Fox to lead the blessing.

“He set a nice mood and tone for the meal. He explained the issues that are happening in the north and what the communities are doing as well,” Boissoneau said. “With him setting a good tone, it was a good way to bring the day to a close.”

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