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Honoring a life well lived, but cut well short: The Bill Sugra Memorial Foundation

         El Sugra of Allentown, Pennsylvania had a strange premonition when saying goodbye to her son Bill shortly after his thirtieth birthday, in August, 2001. “He walked away, and I began to cry,” she recalls sorrowfully, more than sixteen years later. Just a few weeks later, Bill, who worked in the World Trade Center, was one of the thousands who perished in the 9/11 attacks.

            The months thereafter were a tragic blur for the Sugra family. But eventually they marshalled their strength, and decided to honor Bill’s legacy with a memorial foundation. The monies they’ve raised (now over $675,000) assist the needy and disadvantaged to improve their lives during times of difficulty, regardless of geographic location, race, religion, or gender.

            “Our son was deeply caring of those less fortunate,” explains his mother. “He would buy coffee for the homeless on cold days as he walked to work, was always there for a friend in need, had a kind word for his younger sister, thing of that nature.  We created this fund in his honor to support a wide range of charities across the spectrum. We wanted to create an endowment that would last for decades.”

            Their primary fundraiser is their annual golf tournament, the sixteenth edition now in the books. “Our event was August 25th,” continues El. “The weather was perfect, we sold out the field yet again, even had to turn away golfers. We had fifty volunteers, almost two hundred for dinner afterwards, and raised nearly fifty thousand dollars just this year!”

            Despite their success in raising charitable dollars, the passage of time hasn’t made things easier for El, Bill and their daughter Tracy.  “We miss Billy more and more,” concludes El. “However it’s a blessing we can at least honor his memory by raising significant sums, and distribute them where they are needed most.”