America Supports You: ‘SemperComm,’ Golfers to Tee Off for Troops
By Samantha Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2006 When the SemperComm Foundation gets teed off, it’s for a good reason -- keeping servicemembers stationed at remote overseas bases in touch with family and loved ones.
Marine Lance Cpl. Keith Biro is stationed at the Jungle Warfare Training Center, in Okinawa, Japan. Biro uses this computer provided by the SemperComm Foundation to contact his family and friends at home. Proceeds from the upcoming SemperComm Golf Classic will help the foundation maintain the equipment they have in the field and provide service to more remote overseas bases. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
On Sept. 15, the Springfield, Va.-based nonprofit organization – whose name means “always communication” --will host the SemperComm Golf Classic at Fort Belvoir, Va.
The $450 per team, or $125 per individual, entry fee pays for all fees associated with the tournament, as well as dinner afterward, Lara Coffee, SemperComm Foundation’s executive director, said. A portion of the fees is tax deductible.
Coffee explained that SemperComm provides personnel on remote bases with communications capabilities similar to what larger, better-equipped bases offer. “It’s basically the satellite connectivity,” she said.
SemperComm has provided three overseas remote bases with communications equipment and a satellite connection, Coffee said. To set up one base with equipment and the link costs about $80,000 to $120,000. It costs another $60,000 to $80,000 a year to maintain.
With the four-person scramble starting at 2 p.m., 120 golfers are expected to compete for prizes that include airline tickets for the best overall team and golf lessons for the worst, she said.
“We have the longest drive for both men and women, and we have the closest to the pin for men and women, as well,” Coffee said, adding that there’s also a putting contest. “It’s putting for basically $10,000. But in order to win that, there’s three puts that you have to make: the 10-foot putt, the 30-foot putt and the 50-foot putt.”
As an added bonus, special guest Karri Turner, perhaps best known for her recurring role as Lt. Harriet Sims on the long-running TV series JAG, will be on hand to pose for photos with the teams. The photos will be signed and available for golfers that evening.
Dinner with the star the following evening also is a prize SemperComm is offering for one lucky bidder and a randomly chosen servicemember from Walter Reed Army Medical Center here or the National Naval Medical Center, at Bethesda, Md., Coffee said.
“It’s sort of like a silent auction,” she said. “Whoever bids the highest will go to dinner with Karri Turner.”
Turner’s appearance is courtesy of SemperComm’s partner, “Stars for Stripes,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing entertainment to deployed U.S. military forces.
SemperComm is accepting individual or four-person team entries until Sept. 1 or until it has registered 120 people, Coffee said.
SemperComm is part of the Defense Department’s America Supports You program, which highlights grassroots and corporate support for U.S. military forces.