For 23 years, the Brendan Behan Pub on Centre St. has been holding a golf tournament fundraiser in memory of former pub worker Ronnie Dial. Called the Ronnie Dial Golf Tournament, the event raises thousands of dollars each year for a person or organization in need.
This year’s tournament was held in September, but the check for this year’s participant, Samara Amaral, was presented a few weeks ago, totaling $13,000. Michelle Flynn, General Manager of the Brendan Behan Pub, said she’s been involved in the fundraiser for the past seven years, and while she did not personally know Ronnie Dial, she said his spirit is what brings so many people together each year to make this event a reality. Dial’s family is still as involved as they were from the beginning. “It’s a pretty remarkable thing,” she said. Dial’s father still plays in the tournament every year—and almost always wins.
“The pub is not just a bar,” Flynn said. “It’s a place where friends become family and family becomes friends.” Everyone who worked at the pub with Dial became very close, and he became a really important figure in the pub’s community, she added.
Flynn said that all who knew Dial said that he was “someone who lit up the room and would do anything for anybody,” so when he passed away, people wanted to do something in his honor that would help others, and the Ronnie Dial Golf Tournament was born.
Having just completed its 23rd run, the tournament is “a collective effort between so many groups of people,” Flynn said, including people who were friends with the family and pub customers and staff. Over the course of its existence, the fundraiser has garnered over $250,000 that has been donated to charities like Home for Little Wanderers, Jamaica Plain Regan Youth Baseball League, Mission Hill Health Movement, and Boston Breakers in Wheelchairs, just to name a few, as well as several individuals.
The event could not happen without many volunteers lending a hand, including Dial’s good friend Donnie O’Mahoney, Mike O’Rourke, Lyndon Fuller, John Higgins, Jim MacLean, Gerry Brennan, Harry Walsh, Michel Soltani, Patsie Long, Jess Murtha, and Adam Wells, among others, Flynn said.
“We try to pick local organizations,” Flynn said, and originally the money was raised solely for youth organizations within the JP community. “We want to try to get back into that,” Flynn said. “We want thus to continue where we support our local community.” She said there is always some group or individual in need of money, so they discuss who they might want to give the money to about six months in advance of the tournament.
She said the event is bittersweet every year, as it’s sad to reflect on someone who has passed, but she said that Dial’s family is proud that it is still going strong after all these years.
This year’s recipient, Samara Amaral, is a former employee of the Mission Bar and Grill, which, along with the Puddingstone Tavern, worked together with the Brendan Behan pub on this fundraiser. Amaral found out she had triple negative breast cancer when she was 16 weeks pregnant with her second child. This type of breast cancer is more aggressive and is more likely to spread and recur after treatment.
After several rounds of treatment and surgery and the birth of her daughter, Amaral still has to take chemotherapy in the form of a pill for six months and another pill daily for the next two years. She has since had to quit her job at the Mission Bar and Grill due to her treatments, so it was decided that the money raised from this year’s tournament should go to Amaral and her family. As one of her former employees, Flynn said that Amaral was a “great worker” and a “very kind soul,” and she wishes the best for her and her family.
Flynn said she’s looking forward to next year’s tournament. “For me, it’s been a great thing to be a part of,” Flynn said. “I only wish I knew Ronnie. It’s about Ronnie and his family and the longevity of the tournament and how we’ve helped the community and those in need throughout the years.”