Kelly Freitas’ loved ones have made sure her memory stays alive and well. They do it through the Kelly Freitas Memorial Golf Tournament, which raises funds for a scholarship to be awarded to a student in San Benito County. Kelly Freitas died from cancer seven years ago at the age of 31, but the difference she made to everyone around her has moved them to do the same.
Now in its seventh year, the Kelly Freitas Memorial Golf Tournament at San Juan Oaks is as popular as ever. This year’s event takes place on July 14, with an 11 a.m. shotgun start followed by dinner and entertainment at 6 p.m. The golf portion of the event is already sold out, but there are still tickets available for the dinner event, which includes a raffle and prizes.
“Our whole goal of this in memory of Kelly is to make a difference in the community by empowering someone who is going to make a difference,” said Dave Alvernaz, Kelly’s older brother of seven years and the emcee during the dinner event. “It’s a really fun event, and that is inspired by Kelly’s fun nature. Her motto was all about having a great time.”
The tournament features a high heel hole, in which players do a long drive contest in high heels, and fastest hole, where players play as fast as possible. Other highlights of the tournament include a best-dressed contest and the local band, Sake Bombs, playing during dinner.
Alvernaz said his family is very tight knit, and Kelly’s loss was extremely hard to take. But the fact Kelly’s life lives on is a testament to her and the family. It’s also says something that Manny Freitas, the San Juan Oaks Golf Club Director and Kelly’s former husband, still remains close with the Alvernaz family.
“Manny is amazing,” Alvernaz said. “He comes to every family event. He and his girlfriend, Lisa (Casarez), has been a big part of taking this on as well. She has a daughter, and they blow me away—they’re good people. We spend every holiday with them. Manny is like a brother to me.”
When it comes to the tournament, two things are equally true: For Alvernaz, it’s a lot of fun but also an emotional roller coaster.
“It’s pretty awesome to see so many people at the event just remembering my sister,” he said. “What I remember most about my little sister is she was almost a big brother. She defended and loved me with all her heart, and I could do no wrong in her eyes. She was a tough girl, and always inspired me with her way to see beyond the badness in everybody. And she would judge all my girlfriends when I brought them home. She even judged my wife when I first brought her home. Kelly measured them and stared them down.”
Alvernaz said those last couple of sentences with a chuckle, realizing just how fierce her sister was. Even though Alvernaz isn’t a serious golfer, he has played in the event every year, usually with the same four-some. Alvernaz said the support he receives from the community has been downright tremendous over the years.
“It’s amazing what we get from the community,” he said. “A lot of people and groups donate wine, food and other items, and they help the event run smoothly.”
Note: For more info on the event, contact Manny Freitas at (831) 636-6113, ext. 15.