Local volunteers made difference at Travelers

CROMWELL— Back in June, one of the biggest events in the entire state, the Travelers Championship PGA Golf Tournament took place just outside Hartford.

Local volunteers are perhaps the sole reason the event is such a success each and every year, and their dedication and talent makes it among the top PGA TOUR stops for pros and fans alike.

Volunteers often do the dirty work, like picking up after patrons or making sure the galleries behave properly so that the best golfers in the world can do their jobs.

Enfield’s Timmy Pisano is a volunteer and a recent Fermi High School graduate. So recent in fact, that Pisano showed up bright and early the morning after getting his diploma.

“I’ve been volunteering for the last four years I really like it.” Pisano said. “I decided I wanted to come back this year. I went home for graduation, slept and came here.”

Though not a competitive golfer, Pisano loves to play for fun and loves the chance to be in the center of the golfing universe for four days every June.

“It’s really fun, it’s a family atmosphere,” he said. “It’s also nice to do something nice for the community and give back, because that’s what this is about.”

The volunteers create their own community for the week as well, forging special friendships and retuning year after year.

“The other volunteers is the best part,” Pisano said, “getting to meet the people you meet, and you gain a lot of experience doing a lot of things. Everybody who is here, you start to know them all by name.”

Glastonbury’s David Fierman has been volunteering at the Travelers Championship since it was the Sammy Davis Cannon Hartford Open, back in 1989.

In the years since, Fierman has become an Assistant Gallery Chairman, yielding authority over many other gallery workers and the responsibility to maintain order on the golf course at TPC River Highlands.

“It’s been so many years that I can recall getting absolutely drenched in downpours trying to get people off the course,” Fierman, who works in education sales when he isn’t in the fairway, said.

“Some of the responses have been funny over the years. They don’t allow cell phones on the course. I once approached someone talking on the phone, and they said ‘I just want to call and see how my wife’s doing, she just went into labor,’ and I said ‘so what are you doing here?’”

But more than the frustrating and sometime obnoxious golf fans, the event gives Fierman more than a few job perks.

“I like spending the time outside, meeting people,” he said. “I made some friends here over the years. Knowing that the proceeds go to charity, it’s my way of contributing. This is a week’s vacation I take it every year. I like being involved. What we do is little bits of everything. It’s the involvement. It’s funny because I’m next to the best golfers in the world for a week, but I watch very little golf.”

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