The 1st Annual Fatherhood Coalition Good Ol' Fashion Family Picnic

"...A tremendous success"


Press release for Good Ol' Fashion Picnic

Fathers Mix Picknicking, Politicking, Berkshire Eagle, Aug. 11, 2002

From: The Fatherhood Coalition [mailto:FATHERS-L@HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM]On Behalf Of Berkshire_Fatherhood_Coalition Coalition

Sent: Sunday, August 11, 2002 2:58 PM


Subject: Fatherhood Coalition Picnic Great Success


We had a tremendous day yesterday at the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition Good Ol’ Fashion Family picnic!


Big thanks to:

Thom Fenn (who contributions are too long to list—he was invaluable in so many ways, taping,contributing, cleaning.... the list goes on)

Peter Geronios (who made the cooking happening)

Charles Albright (for bringing cases of Bonk)

Jeff Bolio (for helping setting up and help running the raffle).

John Daniels (for running the Chinese Raffle)

Dick Hover (for getting fire truck and helping set up and clean up)

Barbara Johnson for coming from Boston and speaking

Eric Dupont (for getting hay)

Chuck Wright (for the sound system)

Randy Stein (for getting sponsors)

Mike Lyons (for paying for ad)

Nick Palermo (for providing SCUBA)

Doug Reed (for providing SCUBA)

Bruce McPherson (paid for lifeguard)

Rob Daugherty (who arranged games)

Mike Reagan and Anne Talmadge for doing registration.

So many more.....I cannot remember them all. (Please send me an e-mail if I forgot.)


We had people from all across the state.

The weather was magnificent. Perfect. Kids were canoeing, swimming and paddle boating. The kids had a blast. Rob Daugherty put together the games that went off We had three legged races, feather races, potato sack races, and a water balloon toss contest. The kids loved the games. They loved SCUBA with Nick and Doug. We also had a great spelling contest, with even the Jeopardy theme song from Chuck Wright. Chuck did AN INCREDIBLE job bringing sound to the event. The Wohrle's hotdogs were great (they make such damn good hot dogs).

The pond was incredible. The whole scene looked like something out of a Rockwell painting.

We ended the day with a Belgian Draft Horse wagon ride. Everyone received prizes from KB Toy and Hobby. The kids had fun making finger paintings.

Here is the link to the Eagle Story; it was a good size article. It had an accompanying photo which read, "Mac Sauerhoefer plays tetherball with his daughter, 7 year-old Jamie Sauerhoefer, both from Broad Brook, Conn. , at the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition’s Good Ol’ Fashion Family Picnic at Camp St. Michael in Pittsfield yesterday." It was good size photo. The girl is adorable. It was a very good father/daughter photo.



For those that subscribe to the Eagle, the story starts on page B1 and continues on page B5. The photo is on B5. The print size is large, and is on front page of B section.


Smitty Pignatelli stated that he favors shared parenting. Rep. Dan Bosley was very supportive. I was so grateful he came. His words were very strong.,1413,101%257E6282%257E788130,00.html



I have added commentary in brackets.

Article Last Updated:

Sunday, August 11, 2002 - 12:16:36 AM MST

Fathers mix picnicking, politicking

By Jack Dew

Berkshire Eagle Staff

PITTSFIELD -- As children spun yo-yos, threw Frisbees and shot each other with squirt guns onthe shore of a small pond at Camp St. Michael yesterday during a Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition picnic, spokesman Rinaldo Del Gallo argued that the state's trial and probate courts deprive fathers of access to their kids, to the detriment of both.

The coalition-sponsored gathering, funded with contributions from corporations like K-B Toys, Pepsi and Price Chopper, was a blend of late-summer picnic and politics. Del Gallo and the other members of the coalition are asking the state to revamp its child custody laws and erase what they say is a bias against fathers.

Shared parenting platform

The coalition wants the state to support its shared-parenting platform, which it claims would level the playing field by giving divorced or unwed parents equal rights to their children.

"Shared parenting is the best approximation of an intact family, which we all know to be the best.

It also reduces the sense of abandonment that children have later in life. It also reduces the cost of litigation," Del Gallo said.

The political fight has been a difficult one for the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition and similar organizations around the state. Despite their lobbying, the issue has failed to grab the attention of the state House and Senate, where bills have been filed but died quietly over the past few years.[This is somewhat true, but H 2546 has not really "died."]

If yesterday's attendance is any barometer, the fight will continue to be difficult. The coalition expected U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, and Pittsfield Mayor Sara Hathaway to attend, but neither were there in time for Del Gallo's 45-minute presentation on shared parenting.

Lenox Selectman William "Smitty" Pignatelli, candidate for the state House, made an early appearance and said he is still researching the issue. "This is something I'm going to have to learn a little more about," he said. "If I'm fortunate to be the next state representative for the 4thBerkshire District, this is obviously one of the hot-button issues that are going to have to be addressed."

Barbara Johnson, an independent candidate for governor who has garnered no attention from the mainstream media, said she not only supports shared parenting but believes that judges and the Department of Social Services should be held liable for separating families.

Bosley offers support

State Rep. Daniel E. Bosley, D-North Adams, was the only current state politician to appear and give his support. [This is somewhat misleading statement—this event was centered around him.

ALL Berkshire County state representatives have appeared before our group and ALL have stated that they favor shared parenting. Obviously, the Mayor and a US Congressman have no say in a state matter as shared parenting. The fact that they were will to appear or say they were coming is FAVORABLE, not unfavorable. If they did not want to be associated with our cause, they would have declined the invitation.] He told the crowd he sympathizes with fathers who feel wronged by the system and denied access to their kids.

"For 16 years, I've been in the state Legislature, and in all of that time, I'm not sure exactly what works when parents divorce. But I can tell you the present system doesn't work," he said, adding that he hopes that legislation to change the system will be introduced next session.

Richard Donnelly rearranged his weekend visit with his 5-year-old daughter, Laurel, so he could take her to yesterday's picnic. He said he joined the Fatherhood Coalition six months ago as a source of support when he was struggling to find work in the area so he could stay close to his daughter, whom he sees twice a week.

"Now I'm trying to get involved helping other fathers, just trying to be involved in the efforts of the group. I had never been in court before, other than for a parking ticket once in my life, and it was a real awakening when I first went into court and just felt like I was a criminal, before they knew anything about me, just because I was a father," Donnelly said.

Jack Dew can be reached at jdew@berkshireeagle.c


The Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition is an organization dedicated to promoting the Father/Child relationship and promoting gender equality in family law. The Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition meets every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in dining room A of the Berkshire Medical Center (BMC).

To contact Attorney Rinaldo Del Gallo, III at the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition directly, e-mail him at Mr. Del Gallo may also be reached at413-443-3150. Please do not hit "Reply" to contact Mr. Del Gallo. This account is for messages only.

The Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition is a chapter of the Fatherhood Coalition. The Fatherhood Coalition’s website is and their hotline is 413-295-DADS.



Re: Fatherhood Coalition Picnic Great Success

Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 11:38:38 -0400

From: John Belliveau <j.p.belliveau@VERIZON.NET>



Yes, it turned out to be a fabulous day thanks to the many dads who helped tirelessly throughout the day, and Attorney Del Gallo who MC'd the day with amazing patience.


There was plenty of activities and games, and enough toys to go around for all of the youngsters.


It was well worth the trip from Leominster, MA! When my son (9) was asked to rate the day from 1 to 10, he didn't pause for more than a second before he replied "10!". After all, how can you beat winning a free airplane ride from Lyon Aviation!!


Thanks to all who put this together and assisted throughout the day.


John Belliveau



Re: [Berkshire_Fatherhood_Coalition] More Good News/Article of Interest

Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 18:36:44 EDT

From: "Steve Shep..." <sshep333@AOL.COM>



Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to put on a terriffic picnic. Ibrought my two kids, Zachary & Sarah, who thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We couldn't have asked for a better day!

Special thanks to Renny, who obviously worked very hard to ensure the picnic's success. You did a great job, sir. I think the only numbers that matter were the number of smiles on all the kids' faces; Dads' & Moms' too!


Hopefully, other CPF chapters around the state can look to this wonderful event for inspiration to plan their own events promoting Fatherhood, children and families.

Zach & Sarah also rated the Picnic as a"10!"

Thank you all again,




Subject: One Person's Picnic Review!

Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 14:41:47 -0400

From: "Chuck D. Wright" <CHUCKWRIGHT@WEBTV.NET>



The picnic was a tremendous success! Thank you all for attending & supporting!

I had a whole lot of fun entertaining those in attendance & talking with a few of you & putting faces to names from the list (Barb & Elmer).

I have a few personal comments I wish to present to the group, both in & not in attendance Saturday.

1.Sorry for recognizing late the errors in directions to the event.(Mike Franco)

2.It was not my intention to make any such speech or presentation @ the event. Therefore, because someone's father told them not to speak of"Smitty" Pignatelli, I was put on the spot to speak of his efforts &presence. It was not in my knowledge that his opponent was not invited.

I was, therefore, made to look like a fool in everyone's presence. I apologize.

3.I apologize, also, for the more than frequent interuptions in the music & the fluctuation of levels of the same & the limit to the material I was allowed to play.

4.More personally, during the cleanup of the grounds,

2 square blackfelt-covered 2 buttoned pull looped boards were somehow misplaced & possibly taken by an unsuspecting picnic goer.

These are protective covers to my custom case to my sound system. They were graciously offered to cover the glare on the television used for the Bosley presentation. All other items (tv/vcr/table/powerstrip/tape/extension cord) were present & accounted for.

Special thanks to Jeff Bolio & Thom Fenn & Jeff Nadeau for trash patrol in the search of them after the picnic was complete.

If you know of their whereabouts please call me @ 413-445-7970 ore-mail me back directly.

Thank you in advance!

Chuck D. Wright










CPF / The Fatherhood Coalition

A non-profit, all volunteer organization of men and women advocating for fatherhood since 1994