By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
Police officers, friends and kids get together for Police Athletic League event at the Cinnamon Recreation Complex.
Police officers, friends and kids get together for Police Athletic League event at the Cinnamon Recreation Complex.

When a rather large contingent of committed citizens and at least one head-strong blonde say they’re going to find a stable source of funding for the recently-formed Police Athletic League, I’d put my money on the blonde.

Armed with a pan full of barbecued chicken − grilled admirably by her husband, Lemoore City Councilmember Ray Madrigal − and her own homemade potato salad, one just might assume that Tammi Madrigal might be resorting to bribery – the culinary kind – in her attempt to bring her vast array of friends on board as they seek ways to provide much-needed funding for an important city-run program, the ultimate goal of which is to help kids.

Members of the PAL committee get together to plan a benefit golf tournament, to be held May 21 at the Lemoore Golf Course.
Members of the PAL committee get together to plan a benefit golf tournament, to be held May 21 at the Lemoore Golf Course.

The 30 to 35 people who showed up at the Madrigal household two weeks ago didn’t really need to be bribed − though they did in fact put a hefty dent in the supply of chicken, and at least one newspaper editor had more than his share of Tammi’s famous potato salad −  these were the kind of folks who care more about their community and the PAL program, and of course what the Madrigals are having for dinner.

Tourney Sign up Form

And with a little nudging by Tammi, all her friends signed on to help. Madrigal can be convincing, and she almost always has positives things to say, whether she’s asking if you want another helping, or let’s make this PAL thing work.

The easy-going mother of three certainly has a way with words, as her friends and acquaintances can undeniably attest to, and she uses them often, perhaps more often than even than the great pompous Mr. Wordsmith himself, Donald Trump, though fortunately for Lemoore, what emerges from Tammi’s persona is language much more thought out, and a bit more meaningful.

Police Athletic League support group gets on board to support local kids

When she learned about the PAL program, she knew she had to help, which almost immediately resulted in a meeting with Lemoore Police Chief who promptly accepted her ideas to help the Police Athletic League. “I asked myself,” said Madrigal, “what am I doing to help? What are you doing? We needed to get involved.”

And it was also the Celebration of Life held for her friend Don Warkentin that encouraged her to get involved. “It was his Celebration of Life (following his untimely death) that inspired me,” said Madrigal. “Look at this man, he’s so important, and so busy, and he still made the time to get involved in his community.”

The first step in what Tammi says will be an ongoing effort to fund PAL, will be the first annual Don Warkentin Memorial Golf Tournament, scheduled for the Lemoore Municipal Golf Course on May 21. A dinner-dance will be held that same night – also at the golf course.

The group opted to honor the longtime educator, who recently passed away, and who ended his career as the president of West Hills College because of his love for the community, and kids. His daughter, Brooke Warkentin, said her family was honored by the gesture. “My dad loved God, family, and West Hills College, “she said. “He was always very positive. He just loved this town and he was so excited when the PAL program started.”

On hand to explain the concept of PAL was Lemoore Police Chief Smith and Sgt. Jim Chaney, both of whom have been key supporters of Lemoore’s program. Smith is the PAL board president while Chaney serves as the vice president.

The PAL’s program is simple. Surround at-risk kids with positive influences from responsible adults and police officers who volunteer their time to work with young people, and kids will develop self-confidence, self-esteem, civic engagement, academic achievement and ultimately will become productive members of their community.

As FOT (Friends of Tammy) munched on barbecued chicken and devoured what was left of the salad, Smith and Chaney gave the group a rundown of what the Police Athletic League goals are. “Some kids don’t have the same opportunities other kids have,” said Chaney. “What can we do? What can I do to make a difference in kids’ lives and we don’t want them to go down the wrong path.”

Police Athletic Leagues are nationally-recognized programs that get young kids off the streets and into constructive situations. The first PAL was started in 1917 by New York City Police Lt. Ed Flynn who recognized that the youth hanging out on the street corners were craving structure and guidance.

As the success of the PAL concept spread, PAL programs developed in other communities. Today, there are over 400 PAL Member Chapters in law enforcement agencies servicing over 700 cities and 1,700 facilities throughout the United States, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, serving more than one million youth, ages 5 to 18.

According to the National Police Athletics/Activities Leagues, Inc. studies have shown that if a young person respects a police officer on the ball field, gym or classroom, the youth will likely come to respect the laws that police officers enforce.

The Lemoore PAL program currently has its own space in the Lemoore Cinnamon Recreation Complex.

“It’s huge,” said Madrigal, of a program like PAL. “It doesn’t just affect those kids; it affects the good kids, the kids at risk, it affects the business owners, it affects the neighborhoods, it affects the everybody, because if we let these kids slip through the cracks and we don’t teach them about giving and civic responsibility, then we’re doing a real disservice to them. As I told Darrell, I want to help these kids, but I want to teach them about giving back. We want to build a relationship, a bridge between the community and these children… I want to teach them how good it feels to give back.”

Those interested in playing in the golf tournament or becoming a sponsor may complete a registration form attached to this article or pick up a form at the Lemoore Golf Course. You may also contact Tammi Madrigal at or call her at 559-707-6142. The tourney will be a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Registration begins at 10 a.m. Lunch is served at 12 p.m. All entries should be in by May 14. The cost is $100 per player of $400 for a foursome. A car will be given away for a hole-in-one as well as a "closest to the pin" contest and much more. The Cadillac Cowboys will perform at the dinner and dance which begins at 6 p.m. at the golf course. There will also be a live auction and raffle. The golfer's green fees include participation at the dinner and dance. Guests may pay an additional $50.

  1. PAL Golf Tournament Sign-up Form (360.64 KB)