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Tuesday marked the first anniversary of the passing of my father and I didn’t think it would be a big thing, but it was a lot harder to deal with than I was prepared for.

I spent most of the morning and early afternoon recalling the impact he had on my life. He taught me how to play baseball, ski, hunt, fish, drive a car, as well as a few other things.

He took me on a hunting trip into the Adirondack mountains and on a canoe trip from Bainbridge to Owego, adventures a lot of kids don’t have an opportunity to experience.

When the late afternoon rolled around, I went out and attempted to distract myself by photographing a bowling match. I then went and took more photos of a girls basketball scrimmage, as well as a couple other practices, and conducted two brief interviews with coaches.

That really didn’t prove to be a great distraction, because a couple of hours later I held a 50-50 raffle to benefit the Tioga County Sportsmen’s Association’s youth shooting sports program. Drawn was the name of the person who played an integral role in our family saying good-bye to my father — the funeral home director who handled his service and burial. She split $420 with the youth program which was something that was very important to my dad.

The fact the funeral home director won was, to me, an omen that she deserved something a little extra for the fantastic way she took care of my father and our family during our time of grief and mourning.

For putting the 50-50 raffle together on a spur-of-the-moment whim, raising $400-plus for the TCSA program was a pretty successful venture in my opinion.

Next year, I will be better organized and I’m going to set an annual goal of raising a much greater sum for the youth program and the raffle winner.

Hunting is such a big part of this area for so many enthusiasts and teaching young people how to properly handle a firearm, and how to follow all the safety rules is imperative.

If you would like to contribute to the program, donations can be made payable to TCSA. Address: TCSA, P.O. Box 598, Owego, NY 13827.

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