ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The region’s most decorated professional bowler will receive a prestigious honor.
Ryan Shafer, a five-time Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) winner who’s grossed over $1 million dollars in career earnings, has been tabbed as the 2022 recipient of the Tony Reyes Community Service Award. The award is given out annually to the bowler who personifies excellence in community service and public awareness through the love of the sport.
Shafer, who was the 1987 PBA Tour Rookie of The Year, has captured the hearts of many through his effort in helping mental health awareness and fundraising efforts. For the past eight years, Shafer and his dedicated team at Crystal Lanes in Corning have put on an annual fundraiser tournament in honor of Ryan’s late-wife, Michelle, who sadly passed away by suicide in 2012.
The event aims to help generate funds and spread awareness for suicide prevention and mental health. To date, over $38,000 dollars has also been generated for local scholarships for students as Michelle Shafer was passionate about education.
Additionally, Shafer has provided help for two meaningful organizations that help assist with mental health. The Suicide Prevention Center of New York State and GST BOCES, who assist southern New York teens in crisis. Thanks to Shafer’s dedication, the Suicide Prevention Center of New York State ran a webinar series that provided direct service to nearly 400 people.
“I’m very honored. It’s very meaningful, not just for me, but for everyone involved in the event that we hold,” Shafer told PBA.com
“The event couldn’t have happened without the people who get donations, the people who donate themselves, the people who participate in the event and the people who helped run the event, especially my wife, Jennifer, and my best friend, Jim Pitts. They’re indispensable.”
Reyes, who died in 2012, was an eight-time PBA Regional champion. He was the 18th player in PBA history to bowl a 300 nationally-televised game. Shafer, a Horseheads native, bowled a record 18 consecutive strikes on television in 2007.
Shafer also earned the PBA50 Eastern Region Senior Player of The Year last year. Ryan is a 35-year veteran of the tour, he’ll give an acceptance speech this March at the PBA Tournament of Champions Hall of Fame Dinner.