Local bowling tournament honors veterans

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From Jan. 9 to Feb. 5, Palace Pointe hosted the sixth annual BVL/Jack Silver Memorial Tournament, a bowling tournament that honors local veteran Jack Silver, a 24-year active duty USAF retiree who lost his life in February 2017 to heart problems and diabetes.

“Jack was one of my best friends,” said Air Force veteran and tournament manager Paul Ehresmann. “We were both lifelong bowlers. Our families would celebrate different holidays together.”

The tournament saw bowlers, plenty who are veterans themselves, from the Monday Nite Mixed, Person County Bowling League, Monday Morning Seniors, and Thursday Night Mixed leagues participate. Each bowler had the opportunity to enter more than once.

“About seven years ago, I just decided “OK, let’s see what we can do in terms of running a tournament locally,” said Ehresmann, noting that the Durham/Person/Orange USBC association does not run a BVL (Bowlers to Veterans Link) tournament. “I pulled together some rules on how I was going to have it run.”

Failing health in October 2016 forced Silver to stop bowling. He lost his life four months later.

“I wanted to do something a little special for Jack,” said Ehresmann. “I talked to his family, and they said to go right ahead.” For the past three years, the tournament holds the name “BVL/Jack Silver Memorial Tournament.” “I know Jack’s up there smiling, and probably saying, in his very gruff voice, “You better be careful, Paul.”

Jerry Young Sr. won this year’s Men’s Division with an 872 series, while Lois Warren-Woods won the Women’s Division with an 820.

“We’ve done very well with this tournament, as you can tell by the scores,” said Ehresmann. “Lois had a really good night two weeks ago – she shot a 600 set. Jerry is a very good bowler – he’s had several perfect 300 games.”

Young attained a significant milestone at this year’s tournament.

“He shot an 806 scratch series,” said Ehresmann. “He finally made it to that milestone, and he’s going to be getting a nice ring from the USBC for finally bowling that 800.” Young beat his closest competitor in this year’s tournament, Charles Albright Jr. by 99 points.

Because of Ehresmann’s work, the Durham-Orange-Person USBC Association inducted him into its Hall of Fame and gave him the Pin Buster award, which is awarded to people who have “done something a little bit outstanding.”

“Over the years, including this year, I have managed to send the BVL over $2,000 as contributions,” said Ehresmann. “It’s not very much because it’s all on a local level, but it’s something.”

The BVL/Jack Silver Memorial Tournament is the only tournament Ehresmann puts on.

“I want to make sure that the veterans, VA hospitals, and active duty military personnel get the support I can give them by running this tournament.”

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