John F. Russell: Rally in the Valley leaves lasting legacy |

John F. Russell: Rally in the Valley leaves lasting legacy

— For the past 15 years, the Rally in the Valley, formerly known as the Rally for the Cure golf tournament, has been part of my summer.

Last week, the long-running event came to an end, and the women who spent a large chunk of their own lives building the tournament and fueling the event’s success played one well-deserved final round.

It was one last chance to enjoy the event, one last chance to look back on their successes and challenges and one last chance to walk away from years of hard work that ranged from setting tables up, arranging auction items from local businesses and many nights worrying about the event’s success.

Before playing, Linda Danter, the driving force behind Rally in the Valley for 13 years, said it was time.

However, she thought the current organizers and volunteers had stepped up and given back to the community.

She felt like the tournament’s supporters had opened their hearts, and their wallets, to give what they could to make the event a success.

She felt like it was time to step aside and let someone else give it a chance, and to let other causes have a shot at a community that never seems to stop giving.

Sure, the Rally in the Valley was about getting out and playing a game for a good cause, but for those who had made this event part of their summers last Tuesday was about so much more.

It was about coming out and seeing old friends, it was about supporting those who faced cancer and it was about doing something bigger than those who had organized the day.

It also was about saying goodbye to a tournament that measured its success not only in dollars it raised, but in the lives it touched.

I’m not sure where this fundraising event stands in terms of our town’s biggest fundraisers. I’m sure there are events that raised more money in a shorter period of time, I’m sure there are events that drew larger donors and events that attracted more attention.

But I’m still taken back by how much local support this event earned throughout the years. Not only from the players, but how the local businesses sponsored holes, gave auction items and were great supporters.

That says a lot about the women who started the event and those who carried the torch. Some of those women — like directors Danter and Robin Crossan who led the effort the past two years — found the spotlight as they worked to make the event a success. But they never out-shined the cause, or the people they were working for.

In the end, the tournament raised more than $317,000 to help women and families dealing with breast cancer. Not too bad for a small group of women who simply wanted to make a difference in their community.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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