Operation Birdie Benefits Children of Fallen Special Ops Troops
American Forces Press Service
TAMPA, Fla., Jun. 7, 2005 Two Ladies Professional Golf Association pros and longtime friends have teamed up to support the Special Operations Warrior Foundation through the Operation Birdie program.
Jessica Patterson, center, received a scholarship from the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and is a junior at Rutgers University. Her father, Air Force Capt. Thomas Patterson, was killed in a training accident in 1981. Pro golfers Angela Jerman, left, and Catherine Cartwright, support the foundation through the Operation Birdie program. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
Started three years ago by Catherine Cartwright, with Angela Jerman joining this year, Operation Birdie supports the foundation's college scholarship programs for the children of fallen special operations personnel. By donating $25 per birdie and receiving matching pledges from supporters, Cartwright raised nearly $25,000 for the foundation last year.
"Our country's freedom is so fragile and men and women die all the time defending it," said Cartwright. "The Special Operations Warrior Foundation gives the families a little more comfort knowing their children's futures are more secure."
Last year, Cartwright donated nearly $25,000 to the foundation through Operation Birdie, said SOWF's Edie Rosenthal, adding "and this young lady just turned 22 years old." Cartwright turned professional in 2001 soon after high school graduation and earned conditional status on the LPGA Tour for 2002.
"I believe in this foundation because I think everyone should have a chance to follow his or her dreams," said Cartwright. "Operation Birdie is an opportunity to salute the men and women in uniform who are in harm's way around the world and to let their families know their sacrifices and their children won't be forgotten."
Jerman too has pledged $25 for every birdie and $50 for every eagle throughout the 2005 LGPA tournaments. Jerman, who lives in Columbus, Ga., knows military family life from her father's service career.
Jerman said she is joining Cartwright because she feels that giving back to those soldiers who protect and serve our country is a wonderful way to demonstrate how important their job is and how much it is appreciated.
"This is something I am very passionate about," explained Jerman, who has a bachelor's degree in business marketing. "I hope we can raise awareness among the millions of Americans who are golf enthusiasts about the Warrior Foundation and the great work they do providing college educations to children who have lost so much."
"We're deeply appreciative of Catherine Cartwright's and Angela Jerman's generosity and support to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which comes at a critical time of need for the special operations community," said foundation president John Carney. "Today there are more than 550 children across the country in the Warrior Foundation family. With everyone's help and support the SOWF is here to serve families of special operations troops and future generations."
"Going to college would not have been possible without the support of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation," explained Jessica Patterson, who is a junior attending Rutgers University in New Jersey and recently met with Cartwright and Jerman at the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Galloway Township, N.J. Patterson's father, Air Force Special Operations Capt. Thomas Patterson, was killed during a training accident in 1981.
"These two ladies are the epitome of being first-class athletes. It says volumes about their character that they are willing to honor our fallen troops and help raise awareness and funds for the children they left behind. I am truly grateful," Patterson said.
"Catherine and Angela are wonderful role models for both the children in the Warrior Family who have suffered a great loss and for those among us who will not let that loss be forgotten," added Carney.
The foundation, a nonprofit organization since 1980, provides college scholarship grants, not loans, as well as family and financial counseling to the children surviving special operations personnel killed in an operational mission or training accident. The grants cover all costs - tuition, books, fee and room and books.
(From a Special Operations Warrior Foundation press release.)