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Golfers remember Gary Reid, Waterford merchant and firefighter

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Gary Reid left behind a vast network of friends when he passed away in 2019 from complications of Lyme disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

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Reid, 70, was an avid golfer, so plans were made to hold a memorial fundraiser in his honour at his course of choice – Springview Farm south of Waterford – in 2020. But like so much else last year, that was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100 signed up to play in the Gary Reid Memorial Tournament at the time the event was suspended. Most took a rain-check, with 70 taking part in the one-time event Aug. 7.

“It was a celebration of Gary’s life,” says co-organizer John Davis of Simcoe. “People were walking in throughout the day and handing over $100 bills. That’s how much they thought of Gary.

“We were really surprised. Maybe we shouldn’t have been. He was really well-liked.”

Reid owned and operated Waterford TV and Appliances on Alice Street for nearly 50 years. He also was a long-serving Norfolk firefighter based at Station 3 in Waterford.

Reid’s widow, Sharon, noted that – toward the end of his career – Reid was selling to multiple generations of families who liked his focus on quality and personal service.

“He used to say he could sell a couple a house-full of appliances,” she said Aug. 25. “But he enjoyed best helping the little old lady who came in off the street looking for help finding an old part.”

Numerous individuals, retailers and companies pitched in to make the golf tournament a success. At the end, the organizing committee handed over individual cheques for $2,270 each to Lyme Ontario and ALS Canada.

Tracey Boerkamp, co-owner of the Springview course, provided the facility at a discount. Boerkamp reports that charity and fundraising golf events continue in the local area but usually on a reduced scale and with some important pandemic modifications.

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At Springview, this means no “shotgun starts” and no indoor banquets afterward. Shotgun starts involve beginning a golf event with teams teeing off at all holes. This format is popular with fundraisers because it means everyone finishes at the same time once they cycle through the course.

“There are no sit-down meals at all and no shotgun starts whatsoever,” Boerkamp said. “With shotgun starts, everyone finishes at the same time and then they get to hang around together after.

“People want to go back to that but we can’t yet. I think it’s going to be this way for a while. This is the way it’s going to be next year too.”

Suppliers to Reid’s hardware and appliance store donated several high-end appliances that were raffled off the day of the tournament. Foodland in Waterford donated most of the supplies for the barbecue at the end of the event. The Rambling Road Brewery Farm of LaSalette provided a couple kegs, which were also raffled off, as well as samples of their products.

Food leftover was donated to the Waterford Soup Kitchen and the Caring Cupboard Foodbank in Simcoe.

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