This year, the fund-raiser for the Matt Kenney Memorial Scholarship Fund has a new look and feel.
Instead of a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, there will be an afternoon of good cheer among friends at on Saturday, July 21, with appetizers, cash bar and raffle. The fun is from 1 to 4 p.m. at the pub, Second and West State streets, in downtown Geneva.
Matt Kenney, a 2002 graduate of Geneva High School, had been in the Air Force and was mulling college plans when he was killed in an automobile accident in the fall of 2004.
His parents, Tom and Melissa, and siblings created a scholarship in his name. Originally set at $500 each, currently a senior boy and girl, active in athletics and volunteerism, receive $1,000 each during the annual awards ceremony at . Recipients must have been involved in sports all four years, as Matt had been (football, soccer and basketball).
“This past May was the seventh set of scholarships we gave out,” said Patti Kenney Reeder, Matt’s big sister.
The 2012 recipients were Rachel Hinchman and Mark Becker.
In 2007, Sean McCurtain, Matt’s friend and former basketball teammate, created the 3 on 3 tournament to help fund the scholarship and, just as importantly, remember Matt.
It’s been very successful through the years. This year, however, “I don’t know if we picked the one weekend where the entire Tri-Cities will be on vacation or what,” said Patti. With too few teams registered, the tournament is on hiatus this year, and the afternoon at Old Towne will bring people together instead.
And that’s proving a blessing in an unexpected way. “Tons of people—family and friends—are coming who we don’t usually see at the tournament, because they don’t play basketball,” said Patti.
The afternoon will include a raffle, with three tickets available for $5. A wide range of prizes will be awarded, from a $5 gift certificate to Kernal Fabyan’s Gourmet Popcorn to a 20-person VIP suite at a Kane County Cougars game. There will be signed Chicago Blackhawks pucks and pictures, items from the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cubs, four tickets to view Chicago from the Willis Tower (anyone else still call it the Sears Tower?) observation deck, a big package for six to the Brookfield Zoo, tickets to Santa’s Village and Raging Waves waterpark, and more.
The tournament and this event Saturday help keep Matt alive. The two youngest brothers in the Kenney family, Bryan and Mike, were young when Matt was killed. “They didn’t grow up with him, in the same way,” Patti explained. “It’s nice for them to get to see his friends, and all our extended family. It’s a nice way to come together and remember him.
“This year looks a little different, but it will be fun.”
The family isn’t sure what next year will bring. Many tournament participants were disappointed they couldn’t make it this year and that it was canceled. “Maybe we’ll change the timing–hold the tournament before the season kicks off or right after it ends. We’ll have to sit down, talk and see what’s next,” Patti said.
“What’s next” is in the future. For this year, family and friends will gather, greet old friends, remember Matt and raise funds to continue funding the scholarship in his name.
Can’t be at the event but want to contribute a donation to the fund or purchase raffle tickets? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations are tax-deductible.