Giving Back

Jack’s Kids Benefit from Somerville Elks July 8 Softball Tournament

ce8213c123e9d9a0ca8b_sompixjackskids20174.jpg
Jack's Kids Softball Tournament 2016. Credits: Courtesy Somerville Elks
fb98af23b5279cfe07c4_sompixjackskids20171.jpg
Jack's Kids Softball Tournament 2016. Credits: Courtesy Somerville Elks
5bef843e4f29b82e97f0_sompixjackskids20172.jpg
Jack's Kids Softball Tournament 2016. Credits: Courtesy Somerville Elks
2b8fdf1562b982b7522e_sompixjackskids20175.jpg
Jack's Kids Softball Tournament 2016. Credits: Courtesy Somerville Elks
f5570c412b0b3f18ca0f_sompixjackskidslogo__1_.jpg
Jack's Kids Softball Tournament 2016. Credits: Courtesy Somerville Elks
9ca7faeba0379bbc05da_sompixjackskids20173.jpg
Jack's Kids Softball Tournament 2016. Credits: Courtesy Somerville Elks
7b2fd87e3f83dfbbed05_sompixjackskids20176.jpg
Jack's Kids Softball Tournament 2016. Credits: Courtesy Somerville Elks
c49c57a38e353d661ea0_sompixjackskidsgroup.JPG
Jack's Kids Softball Tournament 2016. Credits: Courtesy Somerville Elks
ce8213c123e9d9a0ca8b_sompixjackskids20174.jpg

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Hundreds of softball players will fan out throughout Somerset County July 8 to play ball for a cause in the 25th annual Jack Gardner Softball Tournament.

Jack’s Kids will be the beneficiaries of the day’s events, which culminates with an afternoon party and awards’ ceremony at the Somerville Elks Lodge #1068, 375 Union Ave., Bridgewater.

Jack’s Kids is a non-profit organization that helps to ease the financial burden for families dealing with serious childhood illnesses and/or serious disabilities; many of these children have spent most of their life in and out of hospitals.

Sign Up for E-News

More than 50 softball teams, including 14 women’s teams, have already signed up for the round robin tournament. Entry fee is $400, which entitles each team to a minimum of three games. There are two brackets, competitive and recreational.

Jack’s Kids is named in memory of Jack Gardner, a former detective in the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and later warden of the Somerset County Jail. He grew up in North Plainfield, where he was an outstanding athlete in football, basketball, and baseball.

He was also a member of the Somerville Elks Lodge #1068.

“Jack was a treasure. His main virtue was his willingness to help people,” said Hank Werner, a Bernards Township police officer and Jack’s Kids chairman the past five years. “Anyone who came to Jack for help was assured that he would come through. Throughout Somerset County he is noted for helping many people, especially the younger generation. He was kind, thoughtful and always gave of himself,” Werner added.

Jack’s Kids began in 1992 when Pierce Frauenheim, retired football coach at Immaculata High School and Gardner asked the Somerville Elks to host a softball tournament to raise money for a friend’s child who had been diagnosed with cancer at the age of two.

Gardner passed away the following year, prompting the Elks to name the tournament in his honor. Over the years the name was shortened to “Jack’s Kids.”

The organization continues to grow and now helps over 40 families with their financial needs as they care for their children. Jack’s Kids is a non-profit 501c3 organization under the Charitable Trust within the Somerville Elks Lodge.

“It’s all about the kids and everybody believes in that,” Werner said.

Each year the tournament will raise a minimum of $50,000, according to Werner. This year’s goal is $100,000, he said.

“These kids and their families are an inspiration to us all. We do this for them. We do it for the smiles we see on their faces and the joy they bring to us all,” Werner said. “These kids are the pure meaning of strength. Their struggles and sometimes pain is not the first thing you see. You see innocence and love. They teach us every day what selflessness means and what it truly means to give back. They come and help as they get older and share in the excitement of each other’s milestones.”

New Jersey State PBA President, Pat Colligan will serve as the Honorary Chairperson of this year’s tournament.

“I am honored to be the Honorary Chair of an Organization that is full of true superheroes, these small children fighting big battles. Their hearts and perseverance are an inspiration to us all,” Colligan said.

Several area police departments have entered teams in the tournament, including the Bridgewater PBA, Franklin PBA, Somerset Corrections Department officers and a combined team of  Bernards and Bernardsville officers, according to Werner.

“Although this tournament is a wonderful way to share the day with these truly heroic families and kids, none of it would be possible without the outstanding and generous support from our softball teams who come every year, the amazing umpires and other people who volunteer their time that day, the amazing restaurants who donate enough food to feed over 5,000 people, and our sponsors and business owners who donate money and gifts,” said Lisa Werner, treasurer.

She also coordinates the teams and 45 volunteer umpires for the day. “It is a daunting but very rewarding task,” she said. “Without them we could not help Jack’s Kids and their families.  It is hard enough watching your child hurt and not be able to help. To worry about finances on top of that is even worse.

“The bills build and we are here to help chip away at that. It’s the least we can do for them,” she added.  “Every year we have a larger impact on these families as well as our community. We are blessed and honored to be a part of it.”

The day starts at 8 a.m. on nine fields throughout Somerset County with the ceremonial first pitch. Some of Jack’s Kids will attend the games. The teams all play throughout the morning and into the afternoon while volunteers pick up food, set up the lodge and get ready for the day’s events.

Werner's husband will be on the field at Van Derveer School in Somerville, just down the road from the Elks Lodge to participate in opening ceremonies, which will include bagpipers.

After the games, the teams will return to the lodge for Opening Ceremonies at 2 p.m. Following the opening ceremonies, the winning teams are all presented with their trophies. There will be food and drink, a DJ, 50/50 raffle and kids’activities.

The event at the lodge is open to the public; admission is $10.

Jack’s Kids organizers are also looking for more volunteers and more donations from area businesses.

Additional softball teams are invited to sign up.

More information can be found on the website at www.jackskids.org or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jackskids1068 or by calling 908-722-4634.

There are links to volunteer and donate.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Bridgewater/Raritan

Upcoming Events

Mon, July 16, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Mon, July 16, 9:00 AM

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Summer Nature Day Camps at Scherman ...

Education Green

Mon, July 16, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster,

2018 Members’ Non-Juried Exhibition & Sale

Arts & Entertainment

Somerville Woman Arrested for Shoplifting from Macy's, According to Bridgewater Police Report

July 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Somerville woman was arrested for allegedly shoplifting more than $400 worth of merchandise from Macy's at the Bridgewater Commons Mall July 7, according to a report from Bridgewater Township Police.

Sara Morales-Silva, 51, was charged with shoplifting after she was found with about $435.04 worth of merchandise from the store.

She was processed and released pending a ...

Schedule Revised for Eric Murdock Basketball Camps in Bridgewater

July 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater's own Eric Murdock, a former NBA superstar, is holding basketball camps through the Bridgewater Recreation Department.

The dates and times of some of the sessions of the Eric Murdock Basketball Camps have been revised, and more information can be found at http://www.bridgewaternj.gov/wp-content/uploads/bsk-pdf-manager/Eric_Murdock_578.pdf.

Murdock was ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 15, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

Take Action to Reduce Debt

In our last article, we broached the subject of debt and the township’s reliance – or over-reliance – on debt to fund our yearly expenditures for items such as roads. So, ok, we want to reduce our reliance on debt moving forward, especially as the cost of borrowing is rising. What’s the solution?

Well, there’s no magic wand we can wave to suddenly end ...

Is the Mediterranean Diet Still the Best for Heart Healthy Eating?

The Mediterranean diet has long been the standard for heart healthy eating.  It is a diet that emphasizes olive oil, fresh vegetables, nuts, whole grains over refined grains, fish and plant-based protein over red meat, herbs and spices to flavor food over salt, and fresh fruit for dessert instead of refined sweets. The US News and World Report even named the Mediterranean diet its ...

Celebrate Summer with Freedom & Responsibility

Parents and students rejoice!

School is out and everyone can now experience a great sense of freedom. Kids want to be outside enjoying summer weather and; although it’s the most wonderful season for non-academic activities involving swimming, traveling, and hiking to name a few, let us not forget that summer loss is a serious long-term result of not opening a book or writing for eight ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...