ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — One year ago this coming Sunday, a gunman walked into Rockford’s Don Carter Lanes bowling alley and opened fire, killing three people and injuring three others.
Thomas Furseth, 65, Jerome Woodfork, 69, and Dennis Steinhoff, 73, were killed in the shooting.
U.S. Special Forces soldier Sgt. Duke Webb was arrested for the killings.
Today, the bowling alley honored the memory of Woodfork by renaming its annual tournament in his honor.
Curt Schiavo said Woodfork was “a friend pretty close to 50 years and a longtime competitor in the lanes. I mean, what a great guy. We all miss him and he’s here in spirit today, and you just feel his presence when you come here.”
The tournament also served as a fundraiser, with the proceeds going to a scholarship to benefit a local high school bowling senior.
“This idea was a natural fit,” said Don Carter Lanes’ General Manager Brad Sommer. “This tournament is around Christmas, the tragedy is around Christmas, so it was a perfect fit, to be renamed in Jerome’s honor.”
“This tournament is a way to honor Jerome and all the shooting victims of that tragic day, just trying to make something good out of that horrible horrible day,” he continued. “There’s not a day that goes by that you’re not reminded of that day.”
Schiavo said Woodfork made a large impact on the bowling community.
“Jerome had a few years on me, but I was little kid growing up and watching him bowl in the city league and watching him trash talk his way to victories and stuff, and I loved that,” he said. “You couldn’t help but just love the guy. I mean, he was such a gracious giving person. You know Jerome, I know he’s looking down on us today and smiling.”
Sommer says he hopes the bowling alley can continue the tradition in Woodfork’s honor every year, and award the scholarship to high school seniors.