The Power of a TOURNEY: Agents of Hope

For Chautauqua’s ERA Team VP Real Estate, the fight against ALS is painfully personal.

Just over 10 years ago, they began the Agents of Hope golf tournament, a way to raise money and awareness for Muscular Dystrophy and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Soon after the tournament’s creation, one of ERA’s staff members received news that her husband had been diagnosed with ALS. Last year, he passed away. 

“It turned into a bigger thing for us,” said Hannah Raynor, ERA Chautauqua’s multimedia marketing coordinator. “Since then, more and more of both staff members and friends have been affected by it. It’s powerfully personal for us.” 

While ERA’s corporate office designated the Muscular Dystrophy Association as the charity of choice over a decade ago, they since have branched out in the charities they give to. But the Chautauqua office continues to make the ALS Foundation its primary charitable cause.  ERA Team VP Chautauqua’s Broker/Owner Bill Soffel serves on the National Board of Trustees of The ALS Association.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Over time, nerve cells break down, reducing muscle strength and capacity. With 20,000 cases in the United States alone, life expectancy from diagnosis is anywhere from 2-5 years. There is no cure. 

On Thursday, August 22, ERA Team VP will host the Agents of Hope Golf Tournament at the Chautauqua Golf Club. In its 10th year, the tournament has raised a total of $100,000 to assist in researching a fight against ALS.

“What’s neat about this year is that it’s the 5th anniversary of when the Ice Bucket Challenge began,” Raynor said, referencing the viral Internet campaign that saw people dump buckets of ice on themselves to raise awareness for ALS. “It was so out of nowhere, and they raised so much money from it that they feel a cure for ALS is coming soon.” 

The Ice Bucket challenge galvanized the Internet’s good people, raising over $84 million for the ALS Foundation.

“With the disease affecting some of our friends, co-workers and family, it’s become a rallying cry for the community,” Raynor said. “Our primary sponsors include Southern Tier Brewing, Chautauqua Brick, Fessenden Laumer & DeAngelo Attorneys at Law, Hall & Lee Yaw LLP, John J. Grimaldi & Associates, Pepsi Bottling Company, and Frito Lay, amongst others,” she said. “We’re always welcome to new sponsorships as well.” 

The tournament, which includes golf, a cart, lunch, dinner and other great games/prizes, is $100 per person or $75 for club members. With corporate, individual and team sponsorships available, there’s always a way to help. Dinner will be served by La Familia restaurant. 

“This is something we feel very strongly about and take great pride in,” Raynor said. “Every little bit helps.” 

For more information and to register for this year’s Agents of Hope golf tournament, head to 

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