2006-06-23 / Sports

'RIBS' Third Annual Charity Golf Outing

The Rockaway Irish Boys' ("RIBS") Third Annual Charity Golf Outing will be held on June 30, 2006 at Jacob Riis Park Pitch and Putt Golf Course in Rockaway Beach, New York beginning at 10:30 a.m. The RIBS Golf Outing is dedicated in memory to Charlie Heeran and Chris Lawler. Heeran and Lawler were lifelong friends who were tremendous supporters of the neighborhood and dedicated themselves to improving the quality of life in Rockaway.

The RIBS became friends through many shared hours in St. Francis de Sales school and, perhaps more importantly, the schoolyard. Years of competitive sports created a bond that would last despite a wide range of ages (graduates from SFDS Classes of '85 and later) and attendance at several different high schools in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. This bond grew over the years and even in college, the group would flock back to Rockaway during the summer to lifeguard on the beaches and reconnect. The hallmark characteristics of a RIBS gathering was lots of smiling faces and laughter, usually some good food and cold beers. This was always epitomized in an annual dinner held at the end of the summer, organized by a leader of the group, Charlie Heeran.

In 2001, the RIBS were forced to come together under a new set of circumstances. On 9/11, Charlie Heeran was a victim of the World Trade Center Attacks. He graduated the University of Scranton with a degree in Accounting in 2000 and followed his brother's footsteps to accept a position on Wall Street, on the Institutional Equities desk at Cantor Fitzgerald after graduation. Charlie was immediately tagged as a rising star by his boss, who offered him a promotion to move to Cantor's London office. Charlie declined; despite an unparalleled work ethic and ambition to succeed, he had his priorities squarely in order and wanted to stay close to his family and friends.

In the months after 9/11, it became clear that another member of the RIBS with his priorities in order was Chris Lawler. At the time, Chris was in his second year of law school at St. John's University on an academic scholarship. He was able to balance the demands of schoolwork with spending time with those deeply affected by the events of 9/11, downplaying his own sense of loss to comfort those around him. Just two short months after 9/11, Chris and his mother were killed when American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into their home on November 12, 2001.

Charlie and Chris' families and friends have been instrumental in keeping their spirit alive through several events throughout the year. The RIBS have grown to over 75 members and strengthened their commitment to the Rockaway Beach community in memory of their lifelong friends. Over the past two years, the RIBS Golf Outing has raised over $15,000. With these funds, the RIBS have donated money to a local family in financial distress, a cancer victim with exorbitant medical bills and a victim of Hurricane Katrina. In addition, the RIBS have conducted an annual food drive during the season of Thanksgiving where they have donated over 30,000 pounds of food to various food kitchens throughout the peninsula. In order for the RIBS to continue to help people in need and carry on the tradition of Charlie and Chris, we need the support of the entire community.

The RIBS invite everyone to be a part of the 2006 Golf Outing. The cost of the day includes a round of golf and an all-day BBQ. The RIBS goal for this event is to raise money for people with connections to the Rockaway community with special needs and to fund a high school scholarship for a deserving local student who would benefit from financial assistance. If your family or business is interested in participating in the Outing or offering a tax-deductible donation to the charity, contact: RIBS (c/o Ed Minson) at 917-292-0737.

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