HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The Travelers Companies and the Travelers Championship have announced Monday their commitment to matching up to $1-million in donations to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp after a fire destroyed several of its buildings on Friday night.
The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was founded in 1988 by Paul Newman to provide a summer getaway for children with serious illnesses, all free of charge. The camp has helped about 20,000 kids every year since its founding.
Since 2007, Travelers has supported the camp, and it has been a primary beneficiary of the Travelers Championship, the PGA TOUR event held every year in Cromwell.
“For more than three decades, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp has brought hope and healing to children and families struggling with serious illnesses,” said Alan Schnitzer, chairman and chief executive officer of Travelers. “Now, after this devastating fire, the camp itself is in need of hope and healing. The Travelers family is heartbroken for the kids and families who cherish the comfort, peace, and refuge the camp offers. We’re honored to lend a hand to rebuild this special place as quickly as possible.”
“We’re relieved, first and foremost, that no one was injured in this terrible fire, and we’re grateful to all of the first responders for their brave efforts under extremely hazardous conditions,” said Nathan Grube, Travelers Championship Tournament director. “We know how much campers and their families were looking forward to returning to camp – and to a sense of normalcy – after in-person programming was suspended last summer due to COVID-19. The Travelers Championship is committed to being there for the camp at every step of the way as it recovers from this tragic event.”
Grube told News 8, “Hopefully, it’s going out to the parents, the kids, that it’s going to be OK. Like this magical place where you’ve had these experiences, where your life has been changed, it’s going to be ok and it’s going to get rebuilt.”
In addition to the financial support, Travelers employees will also help on the camp’s grounds and program areas for the arrival of campers and families.
We heard from one child who called it his home away from home. And that’s part of the reason Travelers wanted to act quickly.
Andy Bessette, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Travelers told News 8, “Travelers and the Travelers Championship looks at camp as part of our family, right? And every one of those kids and every one of their parents, we’re all part of the same family. So that’s why we want to help them.”
The tournament director tells us they’ve reached out to some of the players and celebrities who are part of the tournament every year and he says they expect to see some support from them moving forward.
“We are moved beyond words by the extraordinary generosity of our friends at Travelers and the Travelers Championship, who have lifted the hearts of our camp community during a very difficult time,” said Jimmy Canton, chief executive officer of The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. “When we lost our Founder, Paul Newman, many years ago, Travelers stepped forward in a big way and has stood beside us every day since. Their leadership, employees, and our friends at the Travelers Championship have all made Paul’s dream of ‘a different kind of healing’ their own and continue to be unwavering champions for our children and families. They are beloved members of our camp family, and their loyalty is truly inspiring.”
To contribute toward the match, visit https://www.holeinthewallgang.org/rebuildcampfund or send a donation by mail to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, P.O. Box 150448, Hartford, CT 06115-0448, Memo: Rebuild Camp Fund.