(Photo: The Associated Press)
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The opportunity to reminisce and trade stories with old Raiders teammates is always one of the highlights for Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff when he hosts his annual golf tournament.
The fact that the event is one of the major fundraisers each year for a cause so dear to Biletnikoff and his family makes the event even more special.
The golf tournament and a crab feed held each fall are the main events that raise money for the Biletnikoff Foundation. Most of the funds in recent years have been dedicated to a major renovation for Tracey’s Place of Hope — the home for at-risk teenage girls named after Biletnikoff’s daughter who was murdered in 1999.
Biletnikoff and his wife Angela have spent much of the time since then focused on building a legacy for Tracey, who kicked her own drug habit and was helping teens do the same when she was killed by an addict she was trying to get back into rehabilitation.
“It means the world to our family to know that with Tracey’s passing a few years ago now, the majority of these guys were the first ones to really call and ask if we need any help in any way and offer anything,” Biletnikoff said. “When we started events, they were the first ones to sign up and come to play. They continue to do so which means the world to Angela and me.”
Among the players expected at the tournament being held May 2 at the Ruby Hill Golf Club in Pleasanton are Tim Brown, Tom Flores, James Lofton, Cliff Branch, Daryle Lamonica, Richard Dent, Mike Haynes, Ted Hendricks, Jim Otto and Raiders coach Jack Del Rio.
The Raiders who gather for the tournament will spend some time remembering former teammates and coaches who died in 2015. Former defensive coordinator Charlie Sumner, receiver Art Powell, fullback Marv Hubbard and quarterback Ken Stabler all died last year.
“When you find out they passed away, it shocks you because you never think of them passing away,” Biletnikoff said. “That’s the thing that really gets to you emotionally. We all had a great run of friendship and years as players together and winning and having laughs and just having a good time. Don’t worry, all those names come up when we all get together, believe me. We have a lot of laughs. That’s the Raider way.”
But the main cause is raising money to help fund the renovation that started last summer at Tracey’s Place in Loomis. The home accommodates six girls at once who are battling addiction, domestic violence and sexual abuse. Counselors help them recover and prepare for the outside world.
The renovation will expand the kitchen and bathrooms and modernize the home to make it a better spot for the girls trying to get their lives back on track. It is expected to be completed sometime in April.
“It’s amazing to see,” he said. “We’re so happy with what’s being done inside. The girls are so excited and taken aback to see what’s happening from what it was. They really love it.”
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