Mentesti named to chair annual Sammy Event Fund-Raiser

July 3, 2003

Named in memory of Samantha Otte, the golf tournament and silent auction benefits groups that offer enrichment activities for children.

Jim Mentesti admitted he was speechless after being named honorary chairman of the fourth annual Sammy Fund golf tournament and silent auction.

Mentesti, president of the Great River Economic Development Foundation, will help make the Oct. 19 event “the biggest and best ever.” It raises money for organizations with various child-affiliated programs through the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund.

WGEM and The Quincy Herald-Whig were named as new sponsors for the fund-raiser. The four-person scramble golf tournament at Westview and dinner and silent auction at the Knights of Columbus again highlight the event.

Mentesti called being named honorary chairman “the greatest honor I’ve ever had in my 33 years in Quincy.”

When 10-year-old Quincy resident Samantha Otte died in March 2000 after a liver transplant made necessary by cystic fibrosis, her family and friends decided to create something positive from their loss. Her parents, Chuck and June Otte, helped organize the first Sammy Event in the fall of 2000.

Mentesti’s voice cracked with emotion as he talked about Samantha, her family and the many organizations helped by the fund.

“We want to make this one of the biggest and best events yet, and I’m not really sure how we are going to do that,” Mentesti said. “But it’s like June told me – Quincy is big enough to be special and small enough to understand.”

First Bankers Trust has been the major sponsor of the Sammy Event. Refreshment Services Pepsi and Cedarbrook Health Group joined as major sponsors in 2002.

The Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund has distributed more than $35,000 to various organizations. About $58,000 is in a Community Foundation of the Quincy Area endowment fund, with the hope of some day having enough funding to permanently endow the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund.

The fund ensures accessibility of programs that provide artistic,
leadership and humanitarian opportunities for children.

By Rodney Hart
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

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