BIG FLATS, N.Y. (WETM) – The Twin Tiers community is coming together to show its support for the family of Kelley Stage and to raise awareness about domestic violence.
The Sixth Annual Kelley Stage Memorial Golf Tournament is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 30 at Willowcreek Golf Club in Big Flats.
Kelley Stage-Clayton was found brutally murdered in her Caton home in 2015. Her husband Thomas Clayton, former Elmira Jackals hockey player, was found guilty of 1st-degree murder in February 2017, in the murder-for-hire plot. Michael Beard confessed to being hired by Tom Clayton to murder Kelley Stage-Clayton and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Kelley’s sister Kim Burgeois explained that the golf tournament started out as a way to support Kelley’s children. Over the last six years, it’s grown to be an event that helps raise awareness and support for domestic violence victims.
“This community has been unbelievable in supporting our family through tragedy,” Kim said. “And I like to think that out of Kelley’s tragedy, a lot of good has come.”
Kim said the golf tournament has sold out each year since it started, and Kelley’s name has become synonymous with domestic violence awareness.
The proceeds from the tournament will continue to help Kelley’s children, as well as other local organizations that were chosen by the organizing committee, including Catholic Charities, Meals on Wheels, and the Salvation Army.
This year, Kim is also working with the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes to establish a Kelley Stage Memorial Scholarship to be given to a graduating Chemung County high school senior next year.
Kim emphasized the importance of recognizing that domestic violence can take many forms beyond just physical, including emotional, verbal, and financial abuse, as well.
“Even though we may not be the largest community… the people here genuinely care about each other,” Kim said. “People step up and truly help each other in times of need. And that’s what I’m trying to do with keeping this tournament going forward.”