A quote sits alone atop the Pals For Life Foundation’s website, palsforlife.com.
“We are all keepers of our brothers and sisters,” it reads. That quote captures the spirit of the Pals For Life Foundation (PFL), which, for the past 26 years, has given back to locals in the hospitality industry when they have needed assistance the most.
PFL is set to host its 25 th annual golf outing on Oct. 6 at the Captains Golf Course in Brewster after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of what would’ve been the milestone anniversary last year.
It will be a bittersweet occasion, especially for those who were close to Richard Costello, the former owner of the Chatham Squire who launched PFL in 1995. Michael Giorgio, a former Squire employee who now owns the Red Nun Bar and Grill, stepped in to serve as PFL’s president after Costello passed away in May.
“This one is going to be hard. This is going to be the first one without Richard,” Giorgio said. “I think if you spoke to him, he’d say this PFL thing kind of started on a whim. They just wanted to help this guy that got hurt and it turned into something a lot bigger than that.”
The first person to receive funds from PFL was a Chatham bartender who became unable to work after suffering a serious back injury.
“The Squire got together with a couple of the restaurants and they gave him a check for $10,000, which helped him out,” explained Bob Davis, the former executive chef at the Squire who serves as the secretary on PFL’s board. “That was the first year. After that we had to figure out ways to generate revenues so we started the golf tournament and we’ve had raffles and 50-50s.”
The golf tournament is an annual success. This year’s field — which includes 144 golfers (two foursomes on each of the 18 holes) — is already sold out, which is not uncommon in the weeks leading up to the event.
“Putting on a golf tournament is always a struggle but that’s one thing we never have to struggle with because it’s the same people,” Giorgio said. “We’re capped, obviously, with how many people we can have play, so the same people come back every single year. It’s kind of a struggle that there are people who want to play but we don’t have room for them.”
Each year, the tournament raises roughly $20,000 to $30,000 for the PFL foundation.
“If somebody gets hurt, we help,” Davis said. “We can pay their bills, we can pay their mortgage — whatever they need, we can get them through. Usually the golf tournament raises $25,000 or $30,000, which is huge.”
Both Davis and Giorgio praised the local community for their involvement with the golf tournament. Some businesses opt to play in the tournament — the cost to do so is $175 per player — while many others choose to instead donate or become a hole sponsor.
Among the local businesses that will be either donating or playing this year are Hot Stove Saloon, Bad Minnow Bar and Kitchen and 3 Monkeys, among many others. The foundation is still accepting sponsors and raffle items, and more information about how to donate can be found at palsforlife.com.
Regardless of who wins the tournament, Giorgio said it always showcases how the hospitality industry can band together.
“I think there’s a false notion out there that we’re all competing and there’s some animosity, but there really isn’t,” he said. “You see it when we come together for something like this. In those 144 golfers, there’s got to be, I don’t know, a dozen or maybe more restaurants represented.”
That community started with Costello, who Giorgio said laid the groundwork for what the foundation is today.
“I think a lot of people would agree with me that he really fostered that,” Giorgio said. “I know when I left the Squire and opened up a restaurant, he was really, really nice to me and he used to call me. I think that’s one part of his legacy, he kind of fostered that community, that whole ‘we’re all in it together’ thing.”
Email Brad Joyal at email@example.com. Twitter: @BradJoyal