By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE July 11, 2006 The show about nothing sparked a whole lot of something for Andy Girard.
Seinfeld fans who recall the Summer of George the three months George Costanza spent lounging around and living off his severance package get ready for the Summer of Andy.
Theres a twist Girard wont be frittering away his summer eating chips and watching the Yankees.
Girard will be traveling to each of the states in the contiguous United States raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Oh yeah, and hell be playing golf at 48 courses in the 48 states he visits.
The 1996 Jeff-Youngsville Central School graduate left his job in New York City earlier this year because he was looking to make some changes.
A broadcasting and theater major at SUNY Oswego, Girard has spent the last few years working out of his field first for NYC2012, the company that was trying to sell New York City as a host site for the Olympics, and more recently for WebMD.
After buying a Honda Civic and traveling out to Denver, Colo. to visit family, Girard returned to Jeffersonville to plot his next steps.
He took a job at Tennanah Lake Golf and Tennis Club, and he moved in with his mom, Gale, in Kohlertown.
With a friend subletting his apartment in the city, and a summer ahead of him before he plans to go back to Manhattan and job hunt, Girard picked the brains of his friends and family for ideas.
His brother-in-law suggested a trip maybe 30 states in 30 days, playing golf the whole way.
I liked the idea, Girard admitted. But I wanted there to be more I wanted to do more than just go and spend a lot of money and be done and have nothing.
The wounds still open from the loss of a family member last year, Girard decided to dedicate his summer to raising awareness about breast cancer and money to fight it.
Ever since [her death] Ive had this feeling that I wanted to do something, he explained. I wish Id done something before.
Using his Web design know-how, Girard quickly put together a site devoted to spreading the word about his cause.
He researched breast cancer charities and chose the National Breast Cancer Foundation because money goes not only to research but to providing mammograms for the uninsured and underinsured.
Early detection is what saves lives, Girard explained.
The foundation quickly agreed to Girards plan its national headquarters in Dallas, Texas will be a stop on his tour, where he will play golf with the organizations operations manager.
Girard has set his goal at $10,000 100 percent of which he hopes can be turned over to the foundation.
This isnt about getting people to pay for him to play golf, he said.
Im paying for gas, lodging and everything else food myself, Girard explained.
The greens fees for each course will come out of donations but Girard is in the process of calling each course hes found in a Zagats guide and pitching his idea.
If possible, he plans to only play courses that will agree to donate the greens fee back to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, which will ensure that 100 percent of the donations do go to fighting breast cancer.
Once those calls are made, Girard will upload an itinerary to his Website, and folks can go online to sponsor holes, bid for bogeys, pay him for mulligans or even spot him a set fee to play in a particular state.
State sponsors will get a free T-shirt with the name of their state emblazoned on the front along with a Summer of Andy logo.
Do you have something you want me to wear or do while Im golfing in the state you sponsored? he asks on his site. If so, let me know... it is your state.
Donors can pay by check or money order or just log on-line and use a credit card through PayPal.
Girard hopes to have $5,000 in the bank for the foundation before he packs up his Civic and hits the open road in early August.
Thats why he opted to launch his project into cyberspace if people surf into his site and each gives a few dollars, hell easily reach his goal.
No donation is too small, Girard said.
A lot of people think they need to give huge donations, and they say, Im sorry, I dont have that kind of money, but good luck anyway, he explained. It would be great if I had huge donations, but if a ton of people just went on and gave $5 . . .
Even if 1,000 people were to give $5 through the Website, Id have a good amount of money, he continued..
Girard is also taking up offers from across the country to cut costs where he can from accepting offers to play golf with people who will cover his greens fees to accepting overnight lodging from friends across the nation.
He plans to put together a sign that can hang on his car so people he passes on his travels can log onto the Website and hopefully donate to the cause.
For a guy who has been playing golf since he went out for the J-YCS team in eighth grade, this summer sounds like a dream come true.
I love golf, he admitted. I just love being out on a course, being outside playing a sport . . . theres something about the thrill of hitting a great shot.
But ask him what hes looking forward to, and Girard doesnt talk up the links at Pebble Beach or blasting one out of the bunker at Whistling Straits.
Im looking forward to, at the end, being able to give them that check, he said. Im just looking forward to driving across the country and playing these courses and raising money.
To get in on the Summer of Andy, check out www.summerofandy.com or send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks made out to Breast Cancer Golf Tour can be sent to Summer of Andy, Fight Against Breast Cancer Golf Tour, P.O. Box 390, Jeffersonville, NY 12748.