By Heather Vita
THUNDER BAY – What happens at the Dave Duncan Memorial Golf Tournament typically stays at the tournament – except for the proceeds that is. Organizers aren’t shy about sharing those. Nor should they be!
This year, the tournament that keeps alive the memory of Dave Duncan, formerly an Officer with Thunder Bay Police, celebrated raising $25,000 for the Northern Cancer Fund. In its history, the tournament has also provided funding for additional charities including Our Kids Count and Camp Quality.
Dave’s widow, Fiona, along with her daughter Hope, recently joined friends, family, and fellow police colleagues at the Hospital to hang a plaque in the 1A inpatient unit that recognizes the significant contributions of the tournament.
“Dave really enjoyed participating in this tournament,” said Fiona. “Even when he was sick, he still came out and had a smile on his face. I’m glad we’ve kept the tournament going as long as we have. It means a lot to our family, as well as all those who knew him.”
Echoing Fiona’s comments were three former colleagues of Dave’s who’ve also been part of the tournament for many years – Rich Bell, Detective Sergeant, OPP, Ron Popowich, Retired Detective Constable, Thunder Bay Police and Jim Graham, Inspector, OPP. Said Popowich, “Dave was always wanting to get out and show people he was ok. He never wanted to have anyone concerned about him and you really did always see him with a smile on his face.”
Added Graham, “He would captivate a room; his smile was that infectious.”
The tournament has always been purposely kept small and registrations have been limited to police personnel only, including from Thunder Bay Police, Anishinabek Police Service, RCMP, OPP, and NAPS. “We’re all among colleagues,” said Bell, “and it just feels right and comfortable to have a fun event where we’re gathered with peers.”
“We have a lot of fun,” laughed Popowich. “It’s all about fellowship with a bit of golf thrown in. I’m glad we’re able to remember Dave with an event that’s all about having a good time.”
Dave passed away in May of 2003 after being diagnosed with cancer in October 2000. Thanks to the tournament in his name, funds have been provided to ensure there’s exceptional cancer care equipment here at the Hospital. Fiona remarked, “When we hit $25,000, it was a really emotional day. That sort of contribution doesn’t happen overnight – it’s taken the dedication and hard work of so many people over many, many years. I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and how we’re honouring Dave’s memory.”
CAPTION: Celebrating the proceeds from this year’s Dave Duncan Memorial Golf Tournament are (l-r): Cindy Levanto-Kawahara, Major Gifts Officer, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation; Hope Duncan; Fiona Duncan; Ron Popowich, Retired Detective Constable, Thunder Bay Police; Rich Bell, Detective Sergeant, OPP and Chris McNaughton, Manager, Unit 1A, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.