January 15th, 2014 | Published in Breaking News
PBA Hall of Famer Parker Bohn III of Jackson, N.J., is the first Tony Reyes Community Service Award recipient, named in honor of the late PBA Tour champion in honor of his off-the-lanes activities.
The award will be presented annually to a PBA member who has performed outstanding community service and made charitable and/or educational contributions over the course of the previous PBA Tour season.
Reyes, a popular PBA Tour titlist, died in September 2012 of injuries sustained in a traffic accident near his home in San Bruno, Calif. An eight-time regional tournament winner, he also was one of only 22 players to have rolled a 300 game on a PBA Tour telecast.
“There’s no more fitting recipient of the first Tony Reyes Award than Parker,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “Throughout his entire career, Parker has established himself as one of the sport’s great ambassadors through his selfless charity work.”
Bohn, a 33-time PBA Tour champion, was honored for his work primarily with two charitable endeavors he established: the Striking Out Sandy fundraiser, and his annual Parker Bohn III Scholarship Tournament (http://www.parkerbohn.com/). He also has been involved with High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire (http://highhopesfoundation.org/), which grants wishes for seriously ill children, for the past 10 years.
“When Tom Clark notified me that I won the award, I was speechless,” Bohn said. “To win this award in the name of Tony, who was a great friend not only to me but literally everyone, left me feeling very humble.
“Tony was a friend to everyone on and off the lanes. He was one of those special people who was always trying to improve himself not only as a bowler but as a person.”
Bohn’s Striking Out Sandy fundraising project benefited those who were affected by the devastating hurricane that ravaged the East Coast in November of 2012. One aspect of the fundraiser encouraged bowling fans to either pay a flat donation or pledge money for every strike Bohn threw during the 2012 World Series of Bowling — a total of 224.
In addition, Bohn treated kids and families affected by the storm to a field trip in June of 2013 that included a tour of a local bowling center, a day of bowling and lunch.
“The smiles we gave to the kids were priceless,” Bohn recalled. “You’d [have thought] I was Santa Claus.”
Bohn hosts his annual scholarship tournament over the Labor Day weekend. Since its inception 15 years ago, the tournament has awarded nearly $70,000 in scholarships.
“A lot of kids I talk to would like to have bowling as a career, but I always tell them that their education should be their priority,” Bohn said. “A good education is something that can’t be taken away from you, and it opens doors. Not only my scholarship tournament, but all scholarships awarded through bowling, have had a very positive impact on the lives of young people.”
The High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire conducts a three-day bowling event that includes clinics, pro-ams and a singles tournament, as well as autograph and photo sessions with PBA Tour players, that raises funds for ill children — similar to the Make A Wish Foundation.
“The credit for that great event really needs to go to (former tour player and proprietor) Steve Hardy,” Bohn said. “I’m just honored to be involved with it. He puts on an awesome weekend for everyone involved.”
Representative of the many comments included from the nominations received for the award was one from Christine Ruess, who wrote, “The hours that Parker puts into all his community service areas are too numerous to count. The countless hours are a testament to his devotion to the sport and helping others.”
Typical of Bohn, he deflected a lot of credit aimed at himself, and focused instead on contributions others are making on behalf of their communities.
“I’m honored to win the first Tony Reyes Award, but people should know that a lot of PBA players give of their time and effort to get involved with charities at all levels,” Bohn said. “When it comes down to it, we’re blessed to be able to do what we do, and if we have the opportunity to put a smile on the faces of those less fortunate, we’re happy to do it.”