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Fundraiser for Garden City Native 'Irish' Wayne Kelly

Prominent boxing referee and Vietnam veteran died of a heart attack in February 2012.

Mr. "Irish" Wayne Kelly (Credit: www.irishwaynekelly.com)
Mr. "Irish" Wayne Kelly (Credit: www.irishwaynekelly.com)
A February fundraiser in memory of Garden City native "Irish" Wayne Kelly will be held in Long Beach, one of Mr. Kelly's favorite places.

The IWK Memorial Foundation was established in 2012 to commemorate the life of Mr. Kelly, a prominent boxing referee, Vietnam veteran and boxer himself. Mr. Kelly was also a physical conditioning specialist for the Town of Hempstead's Department of Parks & Recreation/Senior Enrichment.

The foundation's mission is to "keep his memory alive by giving back to the community by providing financial support and volunteer work to those in need."

Born in Garden City in November 1948, Mr. Kelly was the second son of Harvey Kelly and Evelyn Riedel Kelly and was the grandson of boxer Harlem Eddie Kelly. After graduating Garden City High School, Mr. Kelly enlisted in the U.S. Army.

While serving as an airborne ranger during the Vietnam War, he was awarded the Purple Heart. A brief pro boxing career followed as a Light Heavyweight in the 1970s. He refereed many notable fights during his tenure, including a heavyweight bout between Riddick Bowe and Andrew Golota in July 1996.

The fundraiser will be held Feb. 1 at the Allegria Hotel from noon to 4 pm. Tickets are currently priced at $75 and can be purchased here.

The date marks the two-year anniversary Mr. Kelly died of a heart attack at the age of 63. Mr. Kelly's children, Jackie and Ryan, created the IWK Memorial Foundation in their father's honor.

For more information, visit www.irishwaynekelly.com.