Ethan Mead tees off

Ethan Mead from Westfield drives the ball on the second hole at Schiffty’s inaugural Charity Golf Tournament Sept. 21.

There are few things as devastating to a family as a critically ill child. Everything stops when that child is hospitalized. Sleeping, eating and the daily self-care routines, those things all grind to a halt. It’s in those moments that families need assistance the most. The Ronald McDonald House offers that help.

“We are there to help take that stress off,” said Renee Gerringer, development officer for the Ronald McDonald House of Danville. Gerringer was representing the private, non-profit organization Saturday, Sept. 21, at the River Valley Golf Course where Shiftty’s Bar and Grille was hosting its inaugural charity golf tournament.

“The money raised will go toward the house, making sure we can provide the best possible home away from home for these people who need a place to go during the most difficult times,” Gerringer said.

The day started early for Ron and Kim Schiffler, owners of Schiffty’s Bar and Grille. They arrived at the golf course at 7 a.m., unsure what the outcome of the day would be, this being their first-such tournament. At that time, only eight teams had registered, but before the 9 a.m. tee-off, an additional 11 teams had been added to the roster.

“Today is just unbelievable. Teams started registering and I thought 19 teams- there’s no way we are going to get that. According to the golf course, people’s first golf tournaments usually average about 10 teams. So, we crushed it. We are way over what we anticipated,” Ron Schiffler said.

As the morning dew dried, golfers took to the course. Only a couple days from the official start of autumn, bright sun and 70 degree weather provided ideal conditions for a day on the greens. The tournament had been months in the making.

“We started working on this in the winter, trying to get things organized,” Kim Schiffler said. All the work, getting sponsors and spreading the word culminated in a $1,300 donation to the Ronald McDonald House of Danville. That money will help the house, which can hold 64 guests, continue to provide a comfortable home for families while their child is in the hospital.

To stay at the Ronald McDonald House, the only requirement is that families must have a child being seen in pediatrics.

“It doesn’t matter where they live; we have had families from other countries stay with us,” Gerringer said. She added that there is also no time frame when it comes to how long guests stay at the house, anywhere from one night to months.

“Families who need us, they can rest assured knowing we are just steps away,” Gerringer said.

The Schifflers hope to continue the success of this year’s tournament in the years to come. To have a quality tournament, Roy Vargeson, River Valley Golf Course manager, said they try to aim for 19 or 20 teams. In addition, getting sponsorships, money for on course prizes and a decent prize if you win the whole thing, helps to make a quality tournament.

Following the tournament, Ron and Kim returned to Schiffty’s where they thanked attendees and awarded prizes including golf bags, gift certificates, shirts and sweatshirts.