SUGARLOAF, Pa. — A drive started the 7th Annual 'Try Not to Suck' Golf Tournament at Valley Country Club hosted by Hazleton-native Joe Maddon, the manager of the Los Angeles Angels major league baseball team.
Money raised here by golfers will go to benefit the Hazleton Integration Project started by Maddon and his family members to help bring a sense of community to the city.
"The Respect 90 Foundation Hazleton Integration Project was an, it is an attempt to bring us back to our previous glory days, we had gotten so far off track for so many years, and no, I'm not around all the time, I get it, people gonna make that argument. Okay," said Maddon.
"But when I get back here, I really, really tried to help out as much as we possibly can. And even when my wife and I aren't here, of course, cousin Bob and Elaine and the Hazleton one community center is definitely actively involved daily."
"We focus, We focus on three different areas. One is educational, the other of course is athletic, and then finally cultural," explained Bob Curry, founding president of the Hazleton Integration Project.
Curry tells Newswatch 16 he witnesses the positive impact of the project every day, and while the work isn't over, events like this that benefit the organization are also opportunities to celebrate it.
"People were uncertain about what we were doing and the effect that was going to have, and now it's become just woven into the fabric of everyday life," said Curry.
The effort of Maddon and his team here is Hazleton is getting the attention of Japanese news outlets and friends of Maddon around the country.
"We all think it's we all think it's pretty cool to be able to be in a position to support the foundation and to kind of bring the community back together again. It's a really worthwhile cause," said Jim Curnal of Ridgefield, Connecticut, who said he's known Maddon for 45 years.
If you'd like to learn more about the Hazleton Integration Project, you can visit its website by clicking here.