FAIRFAX, Va. (August 21, 2019) – For the third consecutive fiscal year, BVL (Bowlers To Veterans Link), has raised more than $1.1 million to support recreation therapy grants to VA hospitals and clinics for America’s veterans and active duty service members.

As bowling’s own and oldest charity, BVL has raised more than $50 million since 1942 to provide support services to veterans. Fundraising events and personal donations are primarily generated by the bowling community through a wide range of events, many specifically targeted around Veterans Day in November. Other programs are year-round, such as “Shoes For Freedom” which asks bowling centers to set aside at least one shoe rental daily for a month, quarter or year as a donation to BVL.

“We are very grateful to the bowling community as they have once again stepped up to show veterans how much we all value their service and sacrifice,” said BVL Board Chair John LaSpina. “These funds will have a direct impact on veterans’ lives by funding much-needed recreation therapy programs and services.”

BVL Executive Director Mary Harrar noted that donations from bowling centers were up $65,000 over the previous year, and encouraged centers and associations to participate in BVL Month in America fundraising events this November in recognition of Veterans Day. “The bowling family, from proprietors to local associations to individual bowlers, includes some of the most loyal and ardent supporters of veterans,” said Harrar. “We are asking all bowling centers and associations to spread the word about BVL, and encourage their local community to step forward and support our work with veterans.” Harrar added that bowling centers and associations could request that funds raised be designated for qualifying veterans’ programs in their local area.

Bowling tournaments, in-center fundraisers and league and bowling association donations generate most of the funds raised, however, some BVL supporters have taken their charity efforts outside the bowling center. One of the most unique BVL fundraisers is that of Georgetown, Texas proprietor David “Kilroy” Kellerman who will soon complete his 2,190-mile, five-month hike through the Appalachian Trail in support of BVL. Kellerman surpassed his original $50,000 goal during this summer’s Bowl Expo and has currently raised more than $56,000.00 with less than 500 miles to go. Multiple fellow proprietors have offered up support for his efforts, making a dollar per mile pledge. Kellerman is expected to complete his 14-state hike by mid-September at Mount Katahdin in Maine.

Donations to support BVL or Kilroy’s Appalachian Trail Hike for Veterans can be made at Follow the final weeks of the hike on Kilroy’s Facebook page.

Another fundraising highlight of the past year was the PBA50 Johnny Petraglia BVL Open, an annual highlight of the PBA50 Tour which was hosted this year at LaSpina’s Maple Lanes Countryside in Clearwater, Fla. Petraglia, a Vietnam War veteran, was among the 160 bowlers who competed in the tournament which was won by PBA Hall of Famer Walter Ray Williams Jr. The PBA50 tournament pro-am in Florida, along with a BVL Tournament of Champions special event supported by league bowlers from the four New York area-based Maple Family Centers, raised nearly $70,000 to support BVL.

Founded in 1942, BVL is bowling’s oldest and own charity and is consistently acknowledged for efficient and effective programming delivered with extremely low overhead.

To learn more about BVL and fundraising opportunities, visit or email

Mary Harrar, BVL Executive Director ( PH: 703.934.6039
Rosie Crews, RC2 Communications ( PH: 817.691.5424

More About BVL (Bowlers to Veterans Link) –
BVL is bowling’s own and oldest charity, raising more than $50 million dollars to provide recreation therapy grants to VA hospitals and clinics for America’s veterans and active duty service members since 1942. BVL is a national nonprofit 501 (c) (3) charity which is consistently acknowledged for efficient and effective programming delivered with extremely low overhead. BVL has been recognized as one of “America’s Best Charities,” earned a “Top Rated” Nonprofit distinction, and accepted into the Combined Federal Campaign (#93325).


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About Me

Brian grew up in New York before moving to Phoenix, AZ in 1991. He has been involved in writing for his own bowling publication called “Striking Spotlight.” He has been published in the Desert Bowler Newspaper, Windy City News Newspaper and the Bowlers Journal. Hirsch is a Youth Director in the Kenosha USBC and a former Director for the Metro Phoenix USBC. As a Level 1 and RVP USBC coach, he can be found coaching his wife Amber and their son Masen each Saturday morning. Hirsch currently has (6) 300’s and (4) 800’s and is a member of the International Gay Bowling Organization where he is a five-time IGBO Champion and a six-time Arizona State Grand Canyon State Games Medalist. The Hirsch’s moved to Wisconsin to be closer to family and assist the Freedom Farm for Vets. Hirsch’s home bowling center is Sheridan Lanes, located in Kenosha, WI.


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