Children’s Fund

The ILA Children’s Fund

International Longshoremen’s Association’s Children’s Fund Donates $125,000 to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at 2007 Annual Golf Outing, the Maher Family Announces $1 Million Pledge to Camp for Children Coping With Cancer and Other Serious Illnesses

NEW YORK  At its 14th Annual International Longshoremen’s Association Children’s Fund charity golf outing held this Monday, May 21st, the ILA donated $125,000.00 to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for children and families coping with cancer and other serious illnesses and conditions. ILA President John Bowers and James A. Capo, Chairman and CEO of United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd., (USMX)  the co-chairmen of the charity event  presented a check from the proceeds of the tournament to Stefanie Vuotto, a 23-year-old former camper and cancer survivor who attended The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as a young teenager when she was battling leukemia. Monday’s donation brought the total ILA contribution since 1994 to over $2.2 million to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.

The presentation to Ms. Vuotto, made during the dinner portion of the golf tournament, was followed up by a surprise announcement by M. Brian Maher, Chairman and CEO and Basil Maher, President and Chief Operating Officer, of Maher Terminals. The family-owned company announced two months ago its sale to RREEF, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank Americas Holding Corp. Brian Maher told the 300 plus guests that, in view of the sale, he and his brother Basil wanted to demonstrate their appreciation to those members of the ILA, employed by Maher Terminals, who helped make it one of the world’s largest independent multi-user container -terminals. In addition, they wanted to pay tribute to John Bowers in recognition for his 20-year leadership as ILA President and applaud him for his exemplary role in leading the fundraising efforts for the past 14 years on behalf of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. Lastly, they wanted to recognize the heroic commitment and dedication of the staff of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to the core mission of the program. To achieve those ends, the brothers announced that they would make a $1,000,000 donation to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp following the conclusion of the sale.

The ILA and its employers have joined forces for the past 14 years hosting the annual ILA Children’s Fund charity golf tournament benefiting The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at North Hempstead Country Club on Long Island. Representatives of both labor and management, including Brian Maher, comprise the committee running the event and participation and support comes from both sides of the negotiating table.

The beneficiaries of the annual tournament ─ The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, located in Ashford, Connecticut was founded by actor Paul Newman in 1988. It is a nonprofit residential summer camp and year-round center designed to serve children and families suffering from cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp offers programs in the off-season for campers, their families and healthcare professionals. In addition, the Camp provides support to associated camps throughout the world.

In 1992, the ILA adopted the then four-year-old Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as its official charity when union president John Bowers initially pledged to raise $500,000.00 for the camp. Mr. Bowers and the ILA far exceeded that original promise, having raised more than $100,000 each year for the Camp since 1993, topping the $2 million mark last year.

The $1 million donation by the Maher Family capped an extraordinary day of fellowship, fund raising and fun on Monday at the 14th Annual Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Fund Golf Tournament. Over 200 golfers participated in the double shotgun tournament followed by the dinner and program, attended by more than 300 people.
James Canton, Executive Director of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, announced Monday that the ILA’s generosity would be recognized by the Camp this year with an appropriate naming of the fishing dock for John Bowers, in recognition of the dockworkers of the ILA. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp fishing dock is specially equipped to allow children with physical disabilities and limitations to safely board boats and enjoy the camp activity of fishing, some of them for the very first time in their lives.

Ms. Vuotto, the former camper and cancer survivor, who today is a recent graduate of Fordham University about to enter medical studies at Columbia University, addressed the dinner guests at Monday’s outing. She related a story of growing up as a child with cancer, remembering going to a junior high school dance and feeling like an outsider because of her loss of hair during chemotherapy treatment. She contrasted those feelings with the absolute joy she experienced when she first attended The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, discovering she was among “her own” quickly bonding with her fellow campers who were very much like her. She retains her association with the Camp today as a spokeswoman in their “Leadership In Training” program.

On Monday, her heartfelt talk produced a rousing ovation from the teary-eyed audience. Those tears and cheers continued when Brian Maher announced the news of the $1 million donation. In expressing thanks on behalf of the ILA, a visibly moved John Bowers recalled the long relationship between the ILA and Maher Terminals saying to both Brian and Basil Maher: “I worked with your father, Michael, many years ago. I know he would be very proud of you two today for what you’ve accomplished with your family’s company. Thank you very much for your incredible generosity to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp.”

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