Kevin McDill and Jeremy Waters with City Councilmember Rich Vitiello at Copper Sky. Photo by Jim Headley

The Israel “Izzy” Calderon third annual Benefit Tournament is March 30, according to event organizers Kevin McDill and Jeremy Waters.

The annual event is a benefit to assist Calderon’s family after he was seriously injured in a crash on Highway 347 and is now the resident of a nursing home.

“This is our third annual tournament to raise money for our friend Israel who was hurt in an accident a little over two years ago,” said McDill. “Insurance didn’t really kick in as much as they needed to, so he’s in a nursing home and bills are piling up. We do anything we can to help them with that.”

McDill said Calderon is in a Scottsdale home.

“He is in a vegetative state. He wakes up and he can look around. He’s not on life support but he has suffered some severe brain damage. He can’t recognize people and he can’t talk. He can’t eat,” McDill said.

Annually about 300 to 500 people participated in the event each of the last two years and raised $11,000 and over $9,000, respectively, in 2017 and 2018. There are 12 teams with an average of 10 to 12 people per team.

There are generally between 125 and 150 players, “then you have the friends and family come out.”

“This year, we are a little better organized than we were last year. We feel like we will exceed both the first and second year,” Waters said. “We would love to get up around the $15,000 mark if possible.”

McDill said, “It keeps getting bigger every year. It is a fun event. We have a raffle with donations from businesses all over town. There are a lot of softball items. Gift cards and what-not. We have a home run derby – that is always a lot of fun. It generates a lot of buzz and it is a fun event.”

McDill said Izzy was a good guy and he played softball with him for years.

“We really miss not having him around. We want to do all we can for the family,” McDill said.

Waters added, “He was the type of guy that when you got out on the field that evening, you were happy to see that he was there. He was one of those guys that everyone looked forward to seeing.”

Izzy is married and has one son, Israel Jr. The family still lives in Maricopa.

“The biggest thing we are looking for is local support. We do have a lot of local businesses that have chipped in and thrown out donations. We have a big screen TV that is being raffled off. Other items that businesses are offering and services will be raffled off. We are looking for more donations. We’re obviously looking for monetary donations,” Waters said.

Every penny raised during this event goes directly to ease the financial burden on Calderon’s family.

Businesses can also sponsor teams for $300 for the tournament. The home run derby cost $20 to enter or participants can enter for free if they get a local business to sponsor them for $100 and the hitter wears a shirt with their name on it.

There are also men’s and women’s divisions in the home run derby.

The event takes place on March 30 from 8 a.m. to about 11 p.m. at Copper Sky.

“It is an all-day event,” Waters said. “The raffle and home run derby are taking place midday. Probably between 12 and 2 [p.m.], possibly 1-3. We do the home run derby and the raffle at the same time.”

Waters said even people who aren’t playing in the tournament are invited to come out and participate in the raffle and show their support for the family.

He added the home run derby is open to anyone who wants to try.

For more information or to donate, contact Kevin McDill at or call him at 480-272-1074.