Kevin McKernan // Greenville Swamp Rabbits // Model Citizen: Tom Brady //
“There can be beauty in what remains.”
Kevin McKernan grew up in the tight knit community of Grafton, Massachusetts. He learned about the devastating effects of cancer when his mother’s best friend, Claudette, lost her battle with breast cancer.
The McKernan and Lorden families, like the community of Grafton, were incredibly close.
“Claudette was an inspiring individual. And while I didn’t know it at the time, I learned what it means to be a good friend by watching how she treated my mom.”
“When I went away for college it was my first time away from home for an extended period of time. I got a call from my mom and before the words came out of her mouth, I could feel her sadness.”
Claudette had lost her battle with breast cancer.
“That was really the first time I experienced true sadness.”
But the sadness didn’t last forever and has been replaced by meaning.
Kevin is using his connection to sports, and his education in marketing, to organize an annual charity golf tournament that is designed to raise funds for local scholarship in Claudette’s name.
“It’s amazing. What began as a basketball tournament 10 years ago started as an excuse to get together and honor her memory. That’s evolved into a formal golf tournament that raises a few thousand dollars.”
When the COVID pandemic prohibited the group from getting together to play hoops they pivoted and established the golf tournament. In a testament to the strength of the Grafton community, the golf tournament doubled in size from 64 participants to 128 in 2021.
“The participation success should be solely attributed to her and the impact that he had on us and our community.”
This year’s tournament falls on Claudette’s birthday and in addition to funds for the scholarship they will be raising money for a local breast cancer charity.
Kevin says he sees a connection between the Grafton community and Greenville. The Greenville Swamp Rabbits’ annual “Stick it to Cancer” game has quickly become a community favorite.
“I’ll definitely be thinking about Claudette when I put on that pink and black jersey. She loved bringing people together. And that’s exactly what this game does for the community here.”
Interview by Michael McCullough / Photography by Patrick Cox