America Supports You: Golfers Tee Up Support for Troops, Families
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 17, 2007 A San Diego-based group is working to remind troops serving overseas that folks back home are grateful for their efforts, the group’s founder and chairman said.
A soldier in Iraq takes a swing during some down time. The nonprofit group “Golfers 4 Freedom” provided the golf equipment. The group also holds golf tournaments to raise funds, which it uses to support servicemembers and their families. Courtesy photo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“Golfers 4 Freedom is … dedicated toward caring for our military and their families,” Keith Barnett said. “Our main effort is to give encouragement and pride to our enlisted servicemembers.
“It is vital to support those willing to sacrifice their lives in the name of freedom,” he added.
Golfers 4 Freedom is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.
The group holds regular golf tournament fundraisers, which benefit other nonprofit groups that offer direct support to military families.
The first tournament, held in 2006, raised more than $9,000 for fellow America Supports You member the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which grants scholarship to children of servicemembers killed or seriously injured in the line of duty.
The group also presented children of these servicemembers with Christmas gifts through the American Christmas Foundation.
Most recently, the group held a golf tournament and used the money raised to provide hand-crank bikes for amputees at Naval Medical Center San Diego. “These young men use the equipment to get exercise and fresh air,” Barnett said.
Golfers 4 Freedom also runs an all-year program that provides golf equipment to U.S. military camps in Iraq, he said.
“Soldiers and Marines have used the equipment to set up golf ranges (and) courses,” Barnett said. “This … gives them a quiet time to relax individually or team up for a competitive sport.”
The group’s America Supports You membership has provided national visibility.
“We had a gentleman from New York find us through (the America Supports You) Web site,” Barnett said. “His golf club was hosting a golf tournament and chose us as the recipient of the money raised.
“In addition, (the membership) gives us credibility with those not familiar with Golfers 4 Freedom,” he added.