Golfers, family remember ‘Sandy G’

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Lawrence Mendonca and Lawrence Mendonca, Sandra Mendonca Galas’ father and brother, respectively, roll out for a shotgun start Sunday at the Never Forget Sandy G golf tournament benefiting the YWCA of Kaua‘i at the Hokuala Ocean Course in Lihu‘e.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    YWCA of Kaua‘i Executive Director Renae Hamilton-Cambeilh shows off the gold medal awarded to participating members of the Never Forget Sandy G golf tournament Sunday at the Hokuala Ocean Course in Lihu‘e.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Golfers Kekoa Colipano and Sean Shigematsu are ready for the Hokuala Ocean Course Sunday during the shotgun start of the Never Forget Sandy G golf tournament.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Director of Golf at the Hokuala Ocean Course Tom Freestone, right, welcomes the visit by Randy Byrd and Doug Sutter Sunday at the Never Forget Sandy G golf tournament at the Ocean Course.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Birthday girl Janet May of Baltimore and Toshie Mendonca, mother of Sandra Mendonca “Sandy G” Galas, are ready to be chauffeured around the Hokuala Ocean Course Sunday during the Never Forget Sandy G golf tournament benefiting the YWCA of Kaua‘i.

  • Courtesy YWCA of Kauai

    Sandra Mendonca “Sandy G” Galas

LIHU‘E — Aug. 1 was a very special day for the Mendonca family, said Janet May of Baltimore Sunday in the parking lot of the Timbers Resort Hokuala Golf Club.

“Yes, it’s my birthday,” May said. “And it’s also the birthday of Sandy Galas’ grandmother, who was born in 1915. It’s also the birthday of Sandy G’s brother, and today is the Sandy G golf tournament. I’m so happy to be here. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend today anywhere else.”

Lawrence Mendonca, Galas’ father and a strong supporter of the YWCA of Kaua‘i, said a final push on the morning of the tournament moved the field to the tournament’s maximum 30 teams (consisting of four persons each) playing a modified scramble format with no post-event party because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A to-go bento breakfast welcomed golfers to the shotgun start at the Hokuala Ocean Course.

“Who would’ve thought that this small tournament we started in memory of Sandy G 13 years ago would grow to where it is,” Mendonca said. “Thank you. And, who would’ve thought that the tournament would last as long as it has.”

The Never Forget Sandy G golf tournament has grown to become a major fundraising event benefiting the YWCA of Kaua‘i, and the torch bearer of the YWCA of Kaua‘i campaign to eliminate domestic violence, everywhere.

Galas was strangled to death in her car at her ‘Ele‘ele home in 2006, a crime that shocked the island and stood unsolved for several years before estranged husband Darren Galas was convicted in 2018.

“Everybody is a winner,” said Renae Hamilton-Cambeilh, the YWCA of Kaua‘i executive director. “The YWCA of Kaua‘i is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and within the goody bags there is a gold medal — this ties in with this year being the year the Olympic games are being played — for each golfer as a thank you for the support provided during the past 100 years.”

Other fundraising arms included the silent auction that was open to the public for as long as the golfers were on the course.

“We have an autographed Joe Montana helmet that people can bid on,” Hamilton-Cambeilh said. “That pushed the silent auction over the top. We were debating having the silent auction until Jana Ahuna told us we had this helmet. It’s a great addition for any San Francisco fan!”

Lawrence and Toshie Mendonca, Sandy G’s parents, and her brother Lawrence, started the tournament to raise funds for the YWCA of Kaua‘i to help victims and survivors of domestic violence, and to keep the Sandy G case alive in the public’s minds.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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