Rotary Jeff Preston Celebrity Golf celebrates 24 years of fundraising

It started off with rain, thunder and lightning, but Mother Nature stepped up with clearing skies and the 24th annual Rotary Jeff Preston Celebrity Golf Tournament went ahead.

                                     Golfers gather around Dr. Jeff Preston (seated in front)

The tournament that bears the name of Dr. Jeff Preston and is hosted by Port Elgin Rotary Club, has raised an incredible $1.5 million over the 24 years that goes toward research for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy working in conjunction with Jesse’s Journey that matches funds raised and of which Jeff Preston is Chair.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a progressive genetic muscular system disease that gradually weakens the body’s muscles. Jesse’s Journey has funded more than $10 million in research projects around the world, and is the ONLY Canadian charity that exists solely to fund Duchenne muscular dystrophy research.

            Buzz Hargrove

Several sponsors have supported the Preston tournament for several years. UNIFOR (formerly Canadian Auto Workers – CAW), for instance, came on board as a platinum sponsor each year and, this year, Buzz Hargrove, former President of the CAW union, presented $8,500.  “Rotarians are in almost every country and they give back to the communities they are in,” said Hargove. “Rotary is the reason we are here today and to give support to MD research.”


Perry Esler of Jesse’s Journey explained that 24 years ago, John Davidson began fundraising for his son, Jesse, who was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.  John Davidson pushed his son Jesse, who had Duchenne’s, across Ontario in a wheelchair in 1995 raising $1 million, followed up with a walk across Canada by himself three years later raising another $2 million.

Jeff Preston with Duncan Hawthorne (2012 Saugeen Times)

Rotarian and former Mayor Mark Kraemer pointed out how, in 1999, the site where Bruce Power is located, almost closed down with the result that the entire region suffered economically.  “Then, Bruce Power took over.  Duncan Hawthorne, former President and CEO of Bruce Power, reached out and put his arms around Jeff Preston and this tournament and Bruce Power continues with that support, along with the Power Workers Union (PWU) and others, today.”


After a day of golf, participants took part in a live auction with auctioneer Pat O’Connor.  Bidding was fast as signed NHL hockey sweaters, golf packages, the BlueJay’s Joe Carter signed bat and tickets for a Michael Buble Toronto concert were all on the auction block.  The auction raised $7,500 which was added to the $25,000 raised for the day.

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(L-R) Len Clewitt (Bruce Power), Mark Kraemer, Greg Fletcher (Saugeen Shores Police), Buzz Hargove, Kevin Carter (Tournament co-organizer), Kaitlyn Shular (Rotarian) Bryan Lewis, Rotarian Rob Dunlop (co-organizer) (Front L-R) Dr. Jeff Preston and Steve Dennison (Rotary President)  ($25,000 + &7,500)