CANTON — The Don Petty Re-Open Golf Tournament celebrated its 13th edition on Thursday at the St. Lawrence University Golf and Country Club, honoring one of the north country’s fortunate sons in Gouverneur junior Tristan Pataky.
Pataky was diagnosed with leukemia shortly before the start of football practice last season. After going through the prescribed rounds of chemotherapy in Syracuse, Pataky was honored at the event by receiving the first Don Petty Memorial Tristan Pataky Sportsmanship Award.
“I am feeling good and ready to go. I want to get in the end zone and help my team win,” said Pataky after receiving the honor.
The award was added to the tournament presentation, which honored Potsdam’s Will Coleman with the 2014 Don Petty Memorial Award as the Outstanding Football Player in Section 10.
After hearing of the diagnosis, Pataky told his mother to call Gouverneur coach Sean Devlin, who immediately began mobilizing a widespread support network.
“The fact that the first person Tristan contacted was me meant a lot. He apologized that he couldn’t play football for the season,” Devlin said.
“We got people together and started fund-raising right away.”
Also at the tournament, Massena’s Sandy Cook, St. Lawrence Central’s Joe Jubinville and Chateaugay’s Pat Calnon received Don Petty Memorial Service Awards honoring their long-standing efforts to develop the improvement and appreciation of sports in Section 10.
It was also announced at the tournament that Harrisville’s Rick Bearor, a member of the organizing committee, has been elected to the New York State Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame. He will be inducted in at the semifinals during this fall’s state soccer tournament.
Also honored at the tournament were four Wounded Warriors currently serving at Fort Drum: Sgt. Mike Mazingo, Don Rosplock, Scott Thompsi and Shane Gibson.
“When we heard about Tristan we wanted to bring him something,” said Mazingo, who has earned five purple hearts.
“Tristan has shown true courage in his fight and I want to present him with a challenge coin which is extremely difficult to earn. He has earned it.”
Pataky also received an NFL game ball provided by Gouverneur native and free agent Brian Leonard, which was signed by several NFL players. Leonard has played with Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, and St. Louis.
Potsdam’s Coleman also received a game ball all from Leonard.
“Will Coleman is the last of the Coleman brothers to play for Potsdam. He came back from a broken leg to have a great year,” said Potsdam Coach Jim Kirka.
“He is a coach on the field like no other player I have had.”
Massena’s Cook was the only recipient of the Don Petty Memorial Service Award who was able to attend the presentation.
The longtime WMSA Radio Personality is well known in Massena as the voice of the Massena Red Raiders and for his involvement in community service projects.
Cook also served the athletes of Section 10 as a varsity basketball coach at Massena as a modified coach and announcer at Salmon River.
“I really want to thank my longtime boss Vic Perry who hired me at WMSA and for not firing me when I almost blew up the transmitter in my third day on the job,” Cook said.
Joe Jubinville, who now resides in Florida, spent his entire career as an educator at St. Lawrence Central where he enjoyed great success coaching girls softball, boys basketball and boys hockey and also served as Director of Athletics.
He also served as Section 10 Chairman in boys basketball and girls softball.
As an administrator at Chateaugay Pat Calnon served any number of executive committees, served as President of Section 10 and later became the President of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.
The tournament was also graced by the presence of another former NYSPHSAA president in 99-year-old Pete Betrus of Harrisville. Betrus was the recipient of the first Don Petty Memorial Service Award in 2008.