FARMINGTON – For years, Connor Harris, a 15-year-old sophomore at Avon High School, has watched his father, Stephen, host a charity golf tournament at Westwoods Golf Course and the Farmington Club. Each year, proceeds from the Dober Invitational go to various area charities.
This weekend, Connor is organizing a benefit miniature golf tournament to benefit a local family.
The first Jete Open benefit miniature golf tournament will be Sunday, Sept. 27, at 4 p.m. at Farmington Mini-Golf on Route 4 in Farmington. Proceeds from the event will help Jason Bukowski, the freshman baseball coach at Avon High last spring, and his family. Jason was injured last July in an accident at the Plainville High baseball field where he was the general manager of the Plainville American Legion baseball program.
The details of the accident aren’t clear but the impact has been frighteningly clear. Jason remembers going to turn on the lights for the second game of a doubleheader. The next thing he remembers is waking up in the hospital. He has been told there was a collision with a bicycle rider.
Jason suffered a fractured skull, a brain bleed, a severe concussion, severe headaches and an ear drum injury which has left him without hearing in his left ear. He is sensitive to light, has lost his balance and is having difficulty concentrating.
At the time of the accident, Jason’s wife, Jennifer, was pregnant with their first child. Jordan Paige was born on August 15. Mother and daughter are both doing well.
Jason’s recovery has put a strain on the family’s finances. The plan was that Jason would be the primary caregiver for Jordan with Jennifer going back to work after six weeks. But Jason is still recovering from his injuries and can’t care for Jordan at this time due to issues with his balance and lack of hearing. Jennifer hasn’t returned to work, yet, because she is on maternity leave. But that leave is scheduled to end in early October.
Connor Harris played for Jason on the freshman baseball team at Avon this spring. When he heard about the accident, he wanted to do something to help.
“I heard about the story on Facebook and after I read it, I wanted to make a difference,” Connor Harris said.
For $15, golfers can play at Farmington Mini-Golf and get an ice cream at the end. Connor Harris is also collecting money from individuals and businesses looking to sponsor a hole. As of Tuesday night, he had 18 hole sponsors and is expecting at least 60 golfers.
“He came to me and said he wanted to do something for coach,” Stephen Harris said. “It’s pretty impressive and I am extremely proud of him.”
People interested in playing can e-mail Connor Harris at Jete23.firstname.lastname@example.org or show up at the course. Donations are also welcome.
Jon Yolles, the varsity baseball coach at Avon High, hired Jason this past spring. “He did a spectacular job for us,” Yolles said.
Yolles and many of the Avon High varsity players will host a baseball clinic on Sunday with Avon Little League players. Afterwards, they plan to head down to Farmington Mini-Golf and attend the fundraising tournament.
Jason, a 1996 graduate of Plainville High, has been coaching baseball in Plainville for 17 years. It is his passion. He has been with the American Legion program since 2011. In the fall, Jason also officiates high school football games as member of the Central Connecticut Association of Football Officials. This was to be his sixth season as an official.
“I’m a reserved person,” Jason said. “We don’t look for help. We don’t ask for help. But the outreach has been amazing. It is really amazing to see how much good there is in the world. People want to do good things for each other.”
Jason and Jennifer didn’t plan on this, either. “I really want to thank everyone has been reaching out to help,” Jason said. “It has been tremendous. My family and I really appreciate it.”
A Go Fund Me account has also been set up for Jason and the Bukowski family.