It turns out, for BVL, 13 is a lucky number. That’s because in 2013, 13 bowling centers in New York State (new to BVL) made a commitment to support America’s veterans. From Lockport to Patchogue, from 8 lanes to 40 lanes, 13 centers – all members of the New York State BPA — got on board.
The result? The photo is NYSBPA Executive Director Kathleen Leitgeb presenting a check in the amount of $5,621.50 to Jim Keller at the Albany VA Medical Center to Brighten Veterans’ Lives in VA Medical Centers throughout the state.
It began with an idea that germinated in the mind of NYSBPA President Tom Sardou. He had regularly participated in Rochester area BVL events so he was familiar with bowling’s oldest charity, supported solely through the sport of bowling. Sardou and Leitgeb looked into the BVL programs and operations and felt that the New York State centers would recognize the need and appreciate the opportunity to get behind the effort. “Here’s something that we can do together. Our members understand the sacrifice of those who have fought for our country,” Tom explains. “BVL’s programs have a profound impact on our American heroes. They are delivered effectively and efficiently with extremely low overhead. We know that our efforts will go right to our veterans. In fact, our members will be able to walk into their area VA Hospital and see the BVL contributions at work.”
Tom wanted to launch the campaign with a bang and offered participating centers an enticement. Those centers collecting $350 or more would be entered into a drawing to win free New York State BPA dues for 2014. Kathy coordinated two drawings, one for centers up to 24 lanes and the other for 25 lanes and up. Respective winners were Crystal Lanes in Corning and Oak Orchard Lanes in Albion.
Mickey Sullivan, proprietor of Crystal Lanes commented, “Our bowlers were very generous when we announced the BVL cause. We suggested that each bowler could donate $1. It was awesome to see $5 and $10 bills in the bucket that our staff passed around each league night.”
“We had heard about BVL and knew that they supported our veterans,” notes proprietor Rick O’Neil of Bowl in Owego. “This program gave us the impetus to get involved. Once the BVL campaign was introduced, both our staff and our customers reacted favorably,” continues O’Neil. “We kept it simple – explaining about the BVL and passing the hat. Needless to say, we got results!”
Concludes Leitgeb, “For our first year in the effort, we are pleased with the outcome – but we’ve already set our sights on topping this next year!”