By Rod Lee
It did not take Norman L. “Skip” Blood Jr., his wife Jayne and the rest of the family long to decide how best to honor their son Jeremy J. Blood after the U.S. Army veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom died at the age of thirty-two in August of 2014.
Taking into account one of Jeremy’s favorite activities, they established the Jeremy J. Blood Memorial Golf Tournament. Their purpose was twofold. First, to host an event that would celebrate Jeremy’s life and all that he accomplished personally and professionally. Second, to create a savings account that would help Jeremy’s widow, Pamela (Edwards) Blood, and his sons, Logan, 7, and Thomas, 4.
“Let’s do a tournament” became a battle cry for Mr. and Mrs. Blood, Jeremy’s brother Matt, Matt’s wife Jody and Jeremy’s friends George Guertin, Mike Baker, Brian Lefort and Jeff Guertin (the latter no relation to George).
George Guertin and Mike Baker were teammates of Jeremy’s on the Northbridge High School golf team. Jeremy graduated from NHS in 2000.
On what Mr. Blood described as a “wet but fine” Saturday (May 19th), more than one hundred golfers teed off at Northbridge’s Shining Rock Golf Club in a best-ball scramble—in the fourth annual version of the memorial tournament. The first was held at Speedway Golf Course in Thompson, the second and third editions at Blissful Meadows Golf Club in Uxbridge. The actual count this year was 108 golfers. Total attendance including those who showed up as dinner guests afterwards was 150. Not bad at all for a tournament that is a “family-and-friends invitation-only” production.
The way the Blood family has chosen to honor Jeremy’s legacy seems most appropriate. An athlete and soldier (he was also a skilled carpenter), he got one of his first glimpses of the sport when the family went to a golf expo in Boston when he and Matt were young.
“The idea for the tournament really came from Jayne,” Mr. Blood, who owns Skip’s, a barber shop on Beane’s Lane in Northbridge, said on May 22nd. At the golf expo, he said, “Jeremy won a trip to go to Florida, with access to a time share. After that the four of us started playing golf at Hank’s place (Hank and Marlene Bosma’s Edgewood Golf Club in Douglas) and then Jayne would go with Jeremy every year on his birthday (July 2nd).”
The golf tournament feels right for another reason, Mr. Blood said. “It’s what Jeremy would want to do if it was one of his friends,” he said. It was also held this year on Mr. Blood’s own birthday.
The Blood family turns out in full force for the tournament. Jeremy’s boys hit the ceremonial first shot in what is quickly becoming a Masters-like tradition, Logan swinging right-handed and little Thomas from a southpaw stance.
“Logan is a carbon copy of his dad,” Mr. Blood said. “He is impressively cloned.”
A video of Logan and Thomas’s efforts show both boys making clean contact with the ball, to the cheers of onlookers.
“They did great,” Mr. Blood said.
Mr. Blood said all of the venues at which the tournament has been played have proven to be more than satisfactory. Scheduling difficulties are the only thing that prevented a return to Blissful Meadows this year. “Blissful Meadows is booking two years in advance for use of its pavilion (for weddings and other functions),” he said.
Shining Rock came through admirably this spring in its first time as host of the event.
Proceeds from players’ fees, donations and sponsorships have resulted in the raising of “a favorable amount of savings to date toward a scholarship fund for the boys, immediate needs for the family and charities including Valiant Veterans, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital,” Mr. Blood said. “These recipients are chosen at random by the boys, and mom, as thoughts of what dad would’ve given to help others. We are thankful for all who have supported our mission.”
Donations may be made by check to: JJB Memorial Fund, c/o Jody Blood, 135 Rivulet St., Uxbridge MA 01569.
Umbrellas presented as a raffle prize also turned out to be a necessary commodity the afternoon of the tournament, because of the rain.
But no one was complaining.
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.