Over 120 golfers participated in the Joshua Harr Shane Foundation’s 12th Annual Golf Classic on Aug. 13, the Foundation’s largest event of the year.
The golf classic originally took place at the Cranbury Golf Club, but moved over to Mercer Oaks Golf Course because of the enormous participation. This year, about 150 to 170 people turned out for the dinner, and over 75 volunteers helped the day run smoothly—even the weather seemed to cooperate.
“The weather that morning just got worse and worse,” said Judy Shane. “My youngest son said, ‘Ma, don’t worry it’s going to clean up. I saw the radar.’ And I said, Josh, if you have any pull up there, you’ve got to make the sun come out.”
Shane laughed. “At eleven o’clock, the sun came out and it was beautiful the rest of the day. Everybody had a good time and it was a great outing.”
Tragedy struck Shane and her family in 2000 when her son, Josh, was killed in a car accident. Josh was a student at Rutgers University and was running home to change his clothes before volunteering at the University Medical Center in Princeton. To honor Josh’s commitment to helping others, the Shane family launched the Foundation and has held the golf outing every year since.
Over $150,000 has been donated by the Foundation since its inception, largely to individuals and charities the Shane family knows on a personal level. The Foundation has provided $10,000 this year alone to the Palliative Care Program at the Embrace Children’s Fund, which provides terminally ill children with consistent nursing staff—for example, if they are in the cancer ward at Robert Wood, the same nurses would visit them at home.
“They have a rapport with the nurse, it’s not a stranger,” said Shane. “They know the case, and the family knows the nurse. It really makes a very difficult situation a little bit easier.”
The Foundation has donated almost $25,000 this year to families with ill individuals, or special needs children. The Foundation will pay mortgages, utilities, unpaid doctor bills, and programs for special needs children where insurance falls short.
“For example, we have donated for special needs horseback riding lessons,” said Shane. “Aside from just developing core strength, it’s really a wonderful therapy, physically and mentally. We saw a horse show where there was a group of adults performing who received our scholarships, and there was a man who was a paraplegic who hoisted himself onto a horse. For that time that he’s on that horse, he can feel like everyone else. Not a dry eye was in the audience.”
The Foundation provided funding for children with special needs to attend ballet lessons, play on ice hockey teams, and participate in alternative education programs, where insurance often falls short. They have also helped families make ends meet by covering gas cards and EZ Passes.
“We mostly donate to things that hit individuals directly, as opposed to other 501cs,” said Shane. “We go directly to the people.”
The Foundation also has shipped care packages to Afghanistan and phone cards to troops deploying overseas. When troops first deployed to Iraq in 2003, Judy Shane heard an interview on the radio with a mother who was able to speak to her son because of a phone card.
“Someone had given her son a phone card and her son had called home,” said Shane. “He was very concerned about his maneuvers that weekend, and he was very apprehensive. He didn’t return, and the phone call was so important to her because it was her last contact with him. I had no military experience, but after hearing that, I knew we had to do something.”
The Foundation makes contacts with soldiers while they are still on base at home, and then sends phone cards and other supplies overseas once they deploy. They have been shipping to Camp Mike Spann in Afghanistan for three years and have developed a number of contacts there, continuing their tradition of helping people on a personal level.
In addition, each year, the Foundation awards a $1,000 scholarship to a Hightstown High School student for students who are continuing their education or performing volunteer work in the service of others. Joshua Harr Shane graduated from Hightstown High in 1999.
With the success of the 12th annual golf outing in her pocket, Judy Shane is already looking ahead to back to school supply drives and their annual St. Patrick’s Day party. The event features a four-course meal, a cocktail party, and saw a turnout of 155 people last year, despite a nasty snowstorm. Aside from all the money raised, Shane is most proud of the convivial atmosphere that these fundraising events foster and the way it brings the community together.
“I had several people come up to me and say, ‘you know, I didn’t know anybody here, but I had such a wonderful time’,” said Shane. “And I said, ‘no, nobody knows each other!’ For some reason, which is the most wonderful thing with the charity, is that it’s a very friendly atmosphere. People are just so nice. It’s been a great opportunity to meet wonderful, wonderful people.