Recognizing BVL’s outstanding contributions from bowling centers for the 2013-14 season, BVL Chairman John LaSpina presented the annual BVL’s Best awards during the BVL presentation at Bowl Expo recently in Las Vegas.
“Several years ago, we asked BPAA member centers to join with us to support bowling’s own, oldest and most successful charity – BVL – and many centers have taken up the cause,” explained LaSpina. “When we started, it was just a handful of centers which raised $13,000. In 13-14, that number jumped to almost 150 centers raising $140,000.”
“We thank every single one of our bowling center contributors for stepping up to help out America’s veterans through BVL,” noted LaSpina, “but a few of my fellow proprietors have really hit it out of the park.”
The 13-14 season awards went to:
- Thunderbird Lanes (NE Philadelphia) Thunderbird conducts a variety of programs for BVL– ranging from a ‘pass the hat’ effort to special events. Thunderbird also proudly posts BVL’s “Heroes in Our Midst” display which honors bowlers and staff who have served in the military.
- Mel’s Lonestar Lanes (Georgetown, TX) Mel’s began a military tournament two years ago which features a “Bowl with a Vet” tournament on Friday night, with each team having an active duty or veteran from each of the branches of the military; and a “Bowl for the Troops” tournament on Saturday. Additionally, Mel’s conducts a bowling ball and bag raffle, accepts contributions from bowlers and receives significant sponsorship from area businesses.
- Bowl America (18 locations along the East Coast) Bowl America President Leslie Goldberg makes a substantial donation to BVL each year from his charity fund.
- Don Carter Lanes Group (NW Illinois) While these centers coordinate a number of programs to support BVL throughout the year, including the “Heroes in Our Midst” displays, the highlight of their BVL campaign is their annual “Bowl for the Troops” tournament. The tournament is conducted in conjunction with the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America and includes door prizes, 50/50 drawings and a silent auction.
- Brunswick Bowling Centers (locations throughout the US) In the 13-14 year, Brunswick conducted their “Bowl for Freedom” program which hosted discounted bowling dates each month throughout the summer, featuring special pricing packages. Brunswick donated a portion of the proceeds to BVL.
- Maple Family Centers (New York City area) The centerpiece of their BVL effort is an in-league tournament which culminates in a large finals event. Leading up to the finals, the updated leader board is prominently showcased in each center, creating continuing attention to the program. Then in its fifth year, the 2014 tournament generated much attention and anticipation. The finals included give a ways, prizes, raffles, and an auction.
Continues LaSpina, “Our goal is to get 100 more centers involved in the 15-16 season – and we’ve got the perfect vehicle for them – the ‘Bowl for Freedom’ campaign. It’s flexible, easy to implement and is designed to help generate traffic. To learn more about the program and order free materials visit: http://www.bowlforveterans.org/programs/bowl-for-freedom-campaign-bowling-center-sign-up/
Pictured above are (L to R): John LaSpina; Don Carter Lanes Group’s John Sommer; Maple Family Centers’ Joe LaSpina; BVL Spokesperson, PBA member and Brunswick representative Johnny Petraglia; Bowl America’s Ruth Macklin; Nick Errico, winner of the Maple Family Centers’ BVL Tournament; Dot Ammons and David Kellerman from Mel’s Lone Star Lanes. (Not represented, Thunderbird Lanes.)