COLLEGE TOWNSHIP — J.J. Powell, trying to keep pace with his older brother, swung his putter and tapped the ball — and then again and again.
When his brightly-colored golf ball finally disappeared down the hole, the 3-year-old rushed to catch his brother, Michael, 5, and face the next hazard at Happy Valley Mini-Golf.
“They’re tied for first place and I’m in last,” joked Jim Powell, who brought his sons out Sunday to honor his friend, local media personality Pat Boland, who died of cancer in 2011.
The event, “Putts for Pat,” was one of two held this weekend in the State College area to raise funds for a scholarship started in Boland’s name.
Shortly after his death, friends launched a campaign to raise $20,000 to establish an endowment at Penn State to assist broadcast majors.
Boland was well-known for his work on Penn State football Saturdays on Forever Broadcasting stations.
Even before his death, helping journalism students was important to Boland, his family and friends said Sunday.
“Pat would be really happy,” said his mother, Mary Ann Boland, who along with her husband, Richard, traveled to State College this weekend from their home in Somerset County.
Mary Ann Boland said she was “amazed” by the community’s support for her son, remembering him Sunday on a bittersweet day.
Between the mini-golf event and a silent auction held during the Penn State game Saturday at Damon’s restaurant, organizers raised more than $7,500 for the scholarship.
Tony Ricciardi, program director for 93.7 FM The Bus, said it was more than organizers hoped to raise. And along with $5,000 already collected, it’s a good chunk of $20,000 necessary to fund the endowment.
Some, like Powell, who said he knew Boland through Penn State’s Coaches vs. Cancer program, came to support a friend. Others simply knew Boland’s voice.
“A lot of people only heard him on the radio, but they still felt that they knew him,” Ricciardi said. “He became part of Centre County life for everyone who listened on the radio.”
Mary Ann Boland said her son never talked about any of that when he would come home to Somerset County.
“We weren’t aware of what Pat meant to this area until he died,” Richard Boland said of his son.
Then the sympathy cards starting arriving at the Bolands’ home, some of them from people who had never met their son.
“This was his town,” Mary Ann Boland said. “He just loved it.”
For more information or to make a donation to the fund, visit www.patbolandscholarship.com.
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter