TOWNSEND -- This past September, 144 golfers and over 50 volunteers came to the Townsend Ridge Country Club to attend the Townsend Fire-EMS Association's second golf tournament in honor of two firefighters who had each passed away of cancer in recent years. Last weekend, over two dozen family members and friends of the two deceased men turned out to the Harbor Fire Station to watch as a check for $11,741.52 was handed over to Meagan Coons, a representative from Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.
"It warms your heart after losing these two gentlemen to cancer. It was such a sad thing. To support their memories truly heartwarming," said Duane Creighton, one of the event's organizers.
The tournament was the brainchild of Creighton and Brett King. King himself is a cancer survivor.
"We both golf. We're both in a golf league up there (at Townsend Ridge.) It seemed like a natural thing to do," said Creighton.
Although the two men came up with the idea, it quickly became a group effort, not only by members of the Fire-EMS Association, but also by family members and friends of Amadon and Hamilton.
"It was very humbling. When we started to get involved in this, people jumped in and wanted to help. It was a lot of time, work and effort to pull this off," said Creighton.
The money will be equally divided between colon and pancreatic cancer research. Capt. Billy Hamilton passed away in 2007 of pancreatic cancer and Lt. Donnie Amadon passed away of colon cancer in 2011.
"It was devastating," said Creighton. "They're not just co-workers. They become family."
Family members of Amadon and Hamilton feel the same way about members of the department.
Amadon's three brothers and his father all served on the Fire Department as well. When his father passed away of heart disease a number of years ago, said Amadon's brother Gary, the department was a source of support, both emotionally and practically in helping with arrangements.
"Then when Donnie was diagnosed, they stood behind us," said Gary. "When his condition got worse, the Fire and EMS service was there right from day one through when it happened to the time he passed away."
Gary said the support has not dwindled in the two years since his brother's passing.
"It's still a tough time for us and they're still there for us," said Gary. "They're always there to help any time we need it."
Memories of their two lost members are still vividly etched in the minds of members of the Fire Department.
Amadon served on the department for over 30 years, since graduating high school. Creighton described him as a dependable friend with an unshakable work ethic.
"He did his job with no need for credit or accolades," said Creighton. "He was a quiet leader. People followed him without him having to ask."
Hamilton was considered a brother to all, said Creighton.
"Everyone always called him Brother Billy," he said. "He was a gentleman, a genuine gentleman."
Hamilton's wife, Robin, said she felt honored that the department dedicated such an effort partially in memory of her husband. She said was thrilled to see how well received the tournament has been over the past two years. Over the past two years, the tournament has raised a total of $25,000 and donated $22,000 to Mass General. The additional funds were used to organize the event and to put towards the association.
Additionally, the collaboration with Mass General has developed so deeply that even the doctors and their families came out to golf in September.
"All the way around, the whole tournament, the respect and love that's been shown by everybody towards these individual firemen and their families is just overwhelming," she said. "It is so heartfelt and sincere. It's wonderful, it really is. (Our family) is so appreciative of so much of the effort around this by everyone."