Over 100 people participated in the Inaugural Ben Whitener Memorial Golf Tournament on July 15 benefiting the family of the late, retired Fire Captain Ben Whitener at the Discovery Bay Country Club.
It was during the dinner ceremony where Tish Whitener spoke and didn’t leave a dry eye in the room when she spoke about her husband and his love of public safety and the community.
I want to thank the organizers for today’s event. They have worked tirelessly to pull this event off and I know Willie and Ben are up in heaven having as much fun as we all had today and I know they enjoyed in the fun today. I want to thank Ben’s brothers and sisters in fire and EMS and my new sisters in East Contra Costa Fire Wives, you have all been amazing taking care of me and my girls the last six months in bringing us dinners, offering to take care of the yard even if I didn’t let you. And thank you for the coffee.
For those of you that did not know Ben, you will hear them talk about how much Ben loved his girls. Apparently that’s because he talked about us a lot to whoever would listen. But I was lucky because I got to hear how much he loved being apart the whole public safety family when he was a firefighter, a caption, a CPR instructor, ER Clerk and his finally as a fire science teacher. He loved it all and loved every single one of you. It was hard making the transition from being on calls and active in fire service, but he understood by becoming a fire science teacher his career was carrying on through the kids and he was excited about that. He was a one of kind guy and he will always have my heart. I thank you all for loving Ben and loving us as well.
Jeanette Ruddick, one of the event organizers, provided a little history about the East Contra Costa Fire Wives and how the event and sisterhood began.
Little over a year ago we lost engineer Willie West to occupational cancer. At that time I looked around and realized the firefighter brotherhood was strong, but the wives were a little lost. The support system that supports our guys out there didn’t quite know each other very well. So, I started thinking and talking and around this time we went through Measure S to try and save some of our stations and just find funding to have a good and safe department.
Ben and Tish Whitener sat around that table and envisioned a group that supported our firefighters and come together as a family. That is what this is, a fire family. We need as strong families and marriages to support our firefighters. We started this with a foundation. Ben really wanted a strong family idea, unfortunately it wasn’t until ben passed that we put our network into place. I believe that hopefully we have done him well in his memory in taking care of the Whitener family and doing things like this.
Assemblyman Jim Frazier was also on hand to talk about Ben Whitener and his experience in dealing with him. Here is a small portion of his comments.
Ben gave our community and his brothers in the fire service his all and found a new path to support East Contra Costa’s bravest when he had to retire becoming a teacher inspiring our future generation of firefighters… what an amazing family the Whiteners are and the sky is the limit for you. The bonds of brotherhood, family and community are strong here and I am proud to be your representative
I have to also thank the firefighters in Local 1230 for making me feel like part of the family. We are in this together guys and I appreciate all the times we have spent together on ride alongs, the suggestions which have helped me become a better legislator, and I am proud of you sticking together, supporting families within your brotherhood and sisterhood,” said Frazier.
The 4-person scramble event offered Tee-Prizes, 50/50 split, putting contests, hole in one contest, closest to the pin, long drive competition, a Vegas Hole competition and a raffle ticket hole. There was also raffle prizes after the tournament concluded which included auctions, and a dinner reception.
Here are the pictures from the event and kudos go out to the committee who organized and worked tirelessly to ensure this event was successful.
Note, if anyone wants full sized images, please email [email protected] as these are sized down for space purposes.