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Kelli Clayton, Jeanne McCooey and Bob Thomas to be Honored by Metropolitan Golf Writers Association
May 1st 2019 -
KELLI CLAYTON, JEANNE McCOOEY AND BOB THOMAS TO BE HONORED BY METROPOLITAN GOLF WRITERS ASSOCIATION
 
Elmsford, NY (May 1, 2019)Met PGA Foundation Director Kelli Clayton, Former MGA Director of Foundation Operations Jeanne McCooey, and former WGA Executive Director Bob Thomas will each be honored with the Dave Anderson Spotlight Award at the MGWA’s 68th National Awards Dinner on Monday, May 13, 2019 at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, New York.  The Award, named in memory of the Pulitzer Prize-winning former MGWA Board member, recognizes exemplary service by unique individuals in the golf community.
 
Kelli Clayton, Director of the Met PGA Foundation, found her inspiration for PGA HOPE from her late husband, Micheal Clayton, a disabled Vietnam Veteran and proud Marine.  Her dedication led the Met PGA Section to become one of the first in the nation to adopt the program to help American Veterans. Under her energetic leadership, the program began locally in 2015 with a single group of 25 veterans, most from local VA hospitals, who met at the West Point Golf Course under the tutelage of volunteer Met Section PGA professionals.  Under Kelli’s enthusiastic guidance, PGA HOPE has grown to three chapters serving 600 military veterans throughout Westchester, the Hudson Valley, Long Island, and the Bronx.  In addition to the instructional program, Clayton created the PGA HOPE Golf League, which enables the Veterans to extend their new-found love for golf into regular play—free of charge—at various golf courses throughout the Met Section.  She was also instrumental in organizing the VET WORKS program that pairs Veterans with employment opportunities at Met Section courses.
 
Former Director of MGA Foundation Operations Jeanne McCooey worked on many programs during her 38-year tenure, but none provided more satisfaction than overseeing GOLFWORKS.  This groundbreaking internship program identified young, motivated, high school-aged students who had little or no exposure to golf and gave them meaningful summer employment at area golf courses.  Since its inception in 1994 (when there were six clubs and 12 kids in the program), GOLFWORKS, which was designed to teach responsibility and new skills, build self-confidence, and offer exposure to positive role models, has extended its reach to 209 clubs and impacted over 3,000 young people.  The program has launched careers in agronomy, club management, and the culinary arts for participants and dozens of students have earned college scholarships.
 
Bob Thomas, who recently retired after 44 years at the helm of the Westchester Golf Association and the WGA Caddie Scholarship Fund (CSF), has had an indelible impact on thousands of local students.  The WGA CSF, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is dedicated to fostering the core values of personal responsibility, integrity and perseverance in young people.  The Fund provides college scholarships to qualified candidates in service to golf based on their financial need.  Bob’s years of service to both the WGA and the WGA Caddie Scholarship Fund earned him the 2016 Udo Reinach Award for his “demonstrable outstanding service and support of the Fund in the form of time, impact, and contributions.” The prior year (2015), Bob received the Ike Grainger Award in recognition of his 25 years of service to the USGA.  In November 2018, The WGA Caddie Scholarship Fund announced its ninth endowed scholarship, the Bob J. Thomas Scholarship Fund, ensuring Bob’s permanent legacy.
 
The MGWA has recognized the game’s greatest players, contributors, and organizations at its National Awards Dinner – the longest-running and often the largest golf dinner in the U.S. each year – since 1952. This annual event is attended by nearly 600 guests, representing golf’s leading organizations, corporate supporters, Met Area Clubs and Club leaders, as well as local and national golf media. This year’s Dinner is sponsored by Rolex, PGA of America, RBC, USGA, ShopRite, Eiger Marketing Group, Tourism Ireland, Sterling National Bank, Broadridge, Callaway, LPGA and MGA and will be hosted by MGWA Vice President/PGA Professional and Sirius XM Radio Personality Brian Crowell.
 
 
The MGWA has raised well over two million dollars for Caddie Scholarship programs in the Metropolitan New York area; the MGA Foundation; and the Dave Marr Journalism Scholarship at Columbia University. 
 
Tickets to the Dinner, as well as raffle tickets, may be purchased at www.metgolfwriters.org (you need not be present at the Dinner to win a raffle prize).  For additional information, please contact Robin Sauerhaft at (914) 347-4653 orrsauerhaft@mgagolf.org.
 
 
 
 

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