'America Supports You' Thanks PGA for Troop Support Efforts
By Paul X. Rutz
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 12, 2006 Professional Golf Association troop supporters had a memorable day touring the Pentagon today, as both a reward for their work raising money to support the troops and as a catalyst for more work in the coming year.
America Supports You members from the PGA Tour, an America Supports You corporate member, toured the Pentagon on April 12 to celebrate their work raising money for America's troops and to set up plans for this year's charity work. Army Spc. Donald Balsavich, a Pentagon tour guide, explains the symbolism in a painting print hanging in one of the corridors. Photo by Paul X. Rutz
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The 17 guests, members of the PGA's Tournament Players Clubs, talked about future troop support plans and met with Pentagon officials, including Navy Adm. Edmund P. Giambastiani, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, welcomed the group in the Pentagon briefing room and thanked them for their hard work.
"The department is so grateful," Barber said. "The philanthropy of the PGA Tour family is really impressive, so thank you."
The PGA tour is a member of America Supports You, which was launched in November 2004. ASY is a Defense Department program highlighting grassroots and corporate support for the nation's servicemembers and their families. As a corporate sponsor with a lot of visibility, the tour has the opportunity to help other charities, Barber said.
"We make no apology for asking people to keep (the ASY) brand out there, because that brand is a reminder to our military community that America supports them, and it gives more credibility to our grassroots groups," she said.
Barber discussed upcoming ASY programs, including a partnership with Weekly Reader to launch later this month, as well as plans for Memorial Day events and Freedom Walks on Sept. 11 to be held across the country.
David Pillsbury, president and chief operating officer of the PGA Tour golf course properties, said he was proud to be at the Pentagon to celebrate the success of his group's fundraising over the past year.
Pillsbury told Barber he thinks it's helpful to hear what ASY has planned for the next year, because the PGA Tour hopes to be an integral part of the America Supports You mission, offering money and media outlets for troop charities, for a long time to come. "There's so much more we can do beyond just raising money," he said. "We have an incredible instrument in our communities to be a mouthpiece."
During their tour, the group viewed the area of the building that was damaged by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. They listened to Pentagon tour guides recount that day and explain how the building was rebuilt.
"For us it's about not forgetting," Pillsbury said. "As it relates to our troops, it's a very tangible, real thing that we need to get people refocused on, because it's so easy -- out of sight, out of mind."