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Golf outing fights ALS, honors memory of Ken Dawson

RYAN VANDERSLOOT
505-5403/@ydsports
  • Ken Dawson died of ALS in November of 2013.
  • This is the third year of the Ken Dawson Memorial Golf Outing.
  • This year's event is 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, at Briarwood East Golf Club.

If there was something sports-related going on around York County back in the day, Ken Dawson was often involved in it somehow.

Dawson personally had a hand in many different sports over his 66 years of life. From basketball to softball, from baseball to golf, Dawson always was active.

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He ran the Salvation Army basketball program for many years in downtown York. He also managed various softball teams, including the highly-successful York Barbell teams of the 1980s. If that weren’t enough, Dawson also managed both the York Yankees, whom he led to a Colonial York Tournament title in 1996, and the Mount Wolf Wolves in the late 1990s.

Dawson was eventually diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease (also known as ALS) before his death in November of 2013.

“Knowing Ken as a person and knowing the toll that (ALS) took on him, after being active the way he was with sports, and seeing other friends that have died of the same disease, it makes you want to do something to help,” said one of Dawson’s friend, Dave Snyder.

Snyder and Dawson’s other friends are all making sure that Dawson’s memory is never forgotten. Two years ago they helped to create the Ken Dawson Memorial Golf Outing to raise funds to battle ALS.

In the first year alone, the outing raised more than $10,000. The fundraising grew last year and the group that is responsible for the event is hoping to again exceed its goal this year.

This year’s outing is being held at Briarwood East Golf Club on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 10 a.m. with a shotgun start. Those interested in the four-person scramble tournament can register their team for the event on a first-come, first-serve basis by Tuesday, Aug. 23. The registration fee is $260 per team or $65 a person.

Snyder’s passion for the outing was fueled in part because the medical professionals had difficulty in accurately diagnosing Dawson’s disease originally. He’s hoping that others won’t have to suffer a similar fate.

“The doctors originally thought it was other things,” said Snyder, who is the longtime scorekeeper for the Stoverstown Tigers of the Central League. “They didn’t figure it out until it was (too late). Once they diagnosed it, he was pretty far along.”

Snyder is pleased that Dawson’s life can still produce positive things, even after his death. More than $21,000 has been raised over the first two years of the event.

Since he's not an avid golfer, Snyder makes his contribution to the outing in a different way — he sponsors a hole along with Dan Wetzel.

“They were looking for hole sponsors the first year,” Snyder said. “It’s $200 a hole and it’s for different individuals and businesses and I’ve been splitting it with Dan these past two years.”

Additional information regarding this year’s outing can be obtained by calling either Jerry Sibol or Angel Ward at Jackie B’s at (717) 854-6247.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.