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July 20. 2013 12:05AM

Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Companies giving back is inspiring


LAST MONDAY, I had the opportunity to participate in the Landmark Benefits golf tournament at the Atkinson Country Club. The tourney marked the 15th year of the event, which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire (www.newhampshire.wish.org).

The event was founded and continues to be led by Tom Harte, the president of Landmark Benefits (www.landmarkbenefits.com), based in Hampstead. Tom leads a board of professionals who help organize the tournaments. The board members are involved in helping to plan and set up the event, but, most importantly, they are responsible for finding people to golf and identify corporate sponsors to donate money, raffle prizes and volunteers.

The Landmark Benefits board is the single largest donor to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire. Following this year's tournament, its donations to the foundation have surpassed $600,000. With 91 cents of every dollar going toward granting the wishes of children, the dollars raised to date by the Landmark Benefits team has allowed wishes to be granted to more than 50 children in New Hampshire.

While a golf tournament may not sound like a big deal to organize, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work and heavy lifting that goes into ensuring it's a successful day. Tom pulls all of his employees from Landmark Benefits off their day jobs and has them work on the event. It's impressive and amazing to see.

Laura Noonan was the project manager this year, and she did an outstanding job. While I didn't see it all, Laura had her hands in everything. From managing invoices for donations to getting the tournament booklets designed and printed, to the organization of the day's events, she certainly had her hands full. She made it look easy, even though it wasn't. The entire Landmark Benefits team was involved, and their selfless work should be recognized.

The other aspect of the golf tournament I was impressed with was the people and companies that gave their time, money and resources. There were more than 130 golfers that attended. It's a sold-out event that people look forward to every year and this year was no exception. The generosity exhibited by everyone was absolutely extraordinary.

Several local companies stepped up and made substantial donations. This year, Corflex, Landmark Benefits, Bank of New England, Skillsoft, Porsche/Audi of Nashua, Spindel Eye, Ameriprise, Sodexo, Macro International, Principal Financial Group, New Age Software Services, Standard Insurance and Parkland Medical Center were the largest donors of the event and were instrumental in the success of the tournament.

During the event, Julie Baron, the CEO of Make a Wish Foundation of New Hampshire, was there to thank people for their support. She helped take pictures of the golfers and was involved in the organization of several key aspects of the event. Julie spent the day with one of the most inspiring Make a Wish children I have met, Meghan Richardson. Meghan suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and recently had a wish granted where she and her family went to Disney World. At nearly 16 years old, Megan is an inspiration to everyone who is involved, and her presence really helped connect the event to the real reason we were all there.

Yes, we were golfing and enjoying the day as well as the interactions with others. But the underlying purpose of the golf tournament was at the forefront of everyone's mind. We were there to make wishes come true for children. And for that reason, it was an honor to participate and be involved in such a special day.

Christopher Thompson (cthompson@catch22solutions.com) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.

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