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Fostering the future

Rotary Club of Bensalem and Mud in My Cleats raised $4,000 for local scholarships at their first Foot-Bowl event

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

For most sports fans in the Greater Philadelphia region, rubbing elbows with former NFL stars and the legendary Bernie Parent would be a dream come true. On Saturday, Nov. 4, this was a reality for a number of locals at the all-new Bowlero Feasterville. Hosted by the Rotary Club of Bensalem and nonprofit Mud in My Cleats, the goal of Foot-Bowl was to raise money for scholarships for Bensalem High School students and future athletes.

A great cause: NHL legend and former Flyer Bernie Parent poses with the former NFL players of Mud in My Cleats, a nonprofit whose mission is to help young athletes achieve their dreams. SAMANTHA BAMBINO / TIMES PHOTO

The idea to host Foot-Bowl, the first event of its kind in the area, came to fruition thanks to Ron Davis, a Bensalem Rotarian and member of the local Mud in My Cleats chapter. A nonprofit organization with chapters nationwide, Mud in My Cleats is comprised of former NFL players who give back by helping young athletes achieve their dreams. Meanwhile, since its founding in 1941, the Rotary Club has boasted the mantra “service above self.” After taking a look at both organizations and what they stand for, it only made sense for Davis to unite the two.

“Partnerships spell success in the community,” he said.

The sole mission of the day was to raise scholarship money for Bensalem High School students and student athletes on their way to college next year. Tickets were sold for $25, with the cost including hot dogs, pizza, arcade games and, of course, bowling in the newly revamped lanes. Guests could also purchase raffle tickets sold by the Bensalem High School Community Service Club and be entered into a special drawing if they wore their favorite team jersey.

In raffle sales alone, the teens of the community service club raised $500, bringing the day’s total proceeds to $4,000. Though the event lasted a mere two hours, the community’s response exceeded the coordinators’ expectations.

“It’s a new event, but there’s a lot of energy,” Davis said.

This was largely due to the purpose of the event, but also its honored guests. Appearances were made by a handful of retired NFL players, including a few former Eagles, such as Joe Wilson, Greg Brown, Cedric Brown, Dominique Curry, Tim Massaquoi, Bob Gruff and Brad Quast. Attendees had the chance to take pictures with each guest and bowl alongside them.

Also present was NHL legend Bernie Parent, who was representing the Malvern Institute, a drug and alcohol recovery center with a location in Trevose. Parent, who has been sober for almost 40 years, spoke about how important it is to help young people with a bright future flourish with guidance and opportunities.

“Anytime I have the chance to get a message across, I’ll do it,” he said.

The Hall of Fame goalie was flying solo among a sea of football stars, but guests of all generations clambered to meet him. Parent even took a few minutes to bowl against one young fan, who couldn’t have been more than 6 years old.

As the event came to a close, Davis expressed how grateful he felt. Not only did Parent and his Mud in My Cleats peers take time out of their weekend for the cause, but local students would soon receive 100 percent of the $4,000 raised.

“We make sure young people get an education,” Davis said. “They’re our future.”

Sponsors for the event included Bensalem Auto Body, Fidelity Savings, Dr. Jeffrey Rosen DDS, Stream Line Payroll and Giordano CPA, Eileen and Mort Lieberman, Marc Cohen, Neshaminy Valley Chiropractic, Bensalem Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo, state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, state Sen. Tommy Tomlinson, Old Roman Pizza/Dairy Queen, Bensalem Police, Union Heritage Insurance and Keystone Hair.

Sponsors for the raffle baskets included Libertae, Arts In Action Consulting & Grace Alfiero, AFC Fitness, Salon Fusion, ShopRite Bensalem, Midland Liquors/Christopher Street Products and Diane Ramsey First National Financial Services.

For more information on Mud in My Cleats, visit facebook.com/MudInMyCleats. For information on the Rotary Club of Bensalem, visit facebook.com/BensalemRotary. For information on the Malvern Institute, visit malverninstitute.com. ••

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com

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