OSTERVILLE — Think summer sporting experiences on Cape Cod and what comes to mind?
Golfing? Absolutely. There are dozens of excellent courses to choose from, whether you’re a high-handicap beginner or a single-digit player.
Sailing and boating? For sure. The Cape and Islands are a world-class destination.
There’s also the Cape Cod Baseball League, where collegiate stars strut their stuff nightly on the way to The Show.
And, of course, there’s fishing, from jetties, beaches, bridges and boats. If you’re passion is wetting a line in search of a striped bass or a blue, one of the signature events every year is the Joe Cronin Memorial Jimmy Fund Tournament.
The 20th anniversary celebration was Friday out of the Nauticus Marina in Osterville. More than 60 boats with over 300 anglers aboard participated and combined to raise $350,000 to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Since its inception in 1994, the tournament has contributed $4.5 million to pediatric cancer research and treatment.
E.J. Jaxtimer of Osterville, who operates a successful home building, millwork and landscaping business, has been the driving force behind the event, though he is quick to deflect credit. He insists it’s a labor of love and a team effort, starting with his family and a long list of friends who volunteer every year.
However, many of those friends say it’s Jaxtimer’s commitment to the cause and to his community that motivates them to be involved.
“E.J. leads and we follow,” said Scott Swaylik of Cotuit, who calls Jaxtimer his mentor. “He’s more than just a friend and I think a lot of us who have been part of this for many years feel the same way.”
Barbara Noonan has been on the organizing committee for 20 years and is also inspired by Jaxtimer’s enthusiasm.
“We’re like a close-knit family,” she said, “and you’d do anything to help your family.”
Joannie Jaxtimer would certainly agree. She’s E.J.’s older sister and a regional executive with BNY Mellon, a global investments company and the primary corporate sponsor of the tournament since 1998. She admits the personal and business relationship makes for some interesting conversations with her brother.
“There are times I have to remind him that I’m wearing my work hat when we talk,” she said, smiling. “But really, it’s wonderful for BNY Mellon to be part of this. It’s great fun and for such a worthy cause.
“I’m so proud of E.J.,” Jaxtimer added. “He has high expectations for himself. He’s hard-working, conscientious and generous. We grew up with parents who taught us to be kind and respectful and E.J. is all of that.”
A day that began amid clouds and rain with an impressive parade of boats out to Nantucket Sound gave way to bright sunshine Friday afternoon. A festive fireworks show over Nauticus Marina was an appropriate end to the 20th anniversary.
The man of the moment was saluted by Kelly Lauriat and Brenda Goodell of the Jimmy Fund, who presented Jaxtimer with an award for his years of contributions. The committee and BNY Mellon were also recognized. A highlight of the ceremony was a $50,000 donation to the Jimmy Fund by Missy and Dave McGraw of Osterville in honor of E.J. Jaxtimer.
“Wow, this is something very special,” Jaxtimer said, humbled by the attention. “It started out with just a few boats. I’m not sure we made any money that first year, but we all love to fish and we were committed to making it work. Now look.
“I’m a very lucky man,” he said. “This isn’t about me. It’s about everyone here who has supported the tournament for 20 years. I’ve been blessed with a great family and great friends. My community has been very good to me. It’s important to give something back. If I can do a little something to help others, and maybe make a difference, that’s all I need.”
To Read the full story in the Cape Cod Times