Almost three years ago - Aug. 16, 2009 - Colin Speta was boating with friends on Chautauqua Lake when a wave crashed into the boat and knocked him backward into the water.
He wasn't seen alive again.
In the four agonizing days that followed, it seemed as though every rescue crew in the area came together to aid in the search-and-rescue mission. By the time his body was recovered early in the morning of Aug. 20, two dozen area volunteer fire departments and seven other agencies had taken part in the search
To give back to those people who gave so much of their time and effort, Speta's family has organized a memorial golf tournament each year since his death. Funds raised from the tournament each year go to support one of the local departments that helped the cause during those difficult days in August 2009.
''Our family wanted to continue supporting the agencies and the departments that assisted in Colin's search," said Speta's sisters, Nicole Allen and Melissa Anderson. ''A lot of our focus is that you never know where you're going to be when you're going to need the help and assistance of all of these people, and that was something we'd never in a million years dreamed of.''
The first tournament was held just over a month after Colin's death and raised $1,250 for the Ashville Volunteer Fire Department. Since then the tournament has raised more than $7,000 for local agencies.
This year, the Colin Speta Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on Sunday, July 22 and benefit Glade Fire Department. Located just south of the New York State border in Warren County, Pa. Glade and its sonar-equipped boat and volunteers played an instrumental role in the search for Colin. They are often called to incidents in both New York and Pennsylvania.
Check-in will be at 8 a.m. at Breezewood Golf Links, Dean School Road, Falconer, and tee off will be at 9 a.m. The cost per foursome will be $200, and includes 18 holes of golf, golf cart, a continental breakfast, hot dogs and accompaniments at the turn and a barbecue dinner after the event. New this year is a $10,000 hole-in-one prize. There will also be a 50/50 and Chinese auction.
In addition to golf teams, the family is also seeking donations for prizes and Chinese auction items. To register, donate or for more information, please call 716-499-3513 or visit www.colinspeta.com.