America Supports You: Golf Weekend Benefits Troop Support Groups
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jul. 7, 2006 The Tournament Players Club of Boston and the Defense Department's America Supports You program teamed up over the Fourth of July weekend to play golf and raise funds to benefit groups who support the nation's servicemembers.
Members of a color guard from the 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, out of Devens, Mass., flank Tournament Players Club of Boston official Brian Connor (left), Paul Keating Sr., owner of event sponsor Alder Foods (center), and Amy Sullivan of TPC of Boston during a TPC of Boston golf fund-raiser July 3. The event benefited three nonprofit troop-support groups. Photo courtesy of TPC of Boston
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
America Supports You is a Defense Department program that highlights grassroots and corporate support for the nation's servicemembers.
The partnership that began last year raised $450,000 in donations from events at all 23 TPC locations nationwide. This year's Boston event exceeded the club's goal by $5,000. TPC of Boston club member Paul Keating Sr.'s Alder Foods helped make that possible with a $20,000 donation, said Brian Connor, director of sales and marketing for TPC Boston. Alder has been providing food for the military for 45 years, he added.
"The event, through pledges, through golf fees, through auction fees, ended up with a net of about $105,000," Connor said. The three charities supported by the fund-raiser will equally benefit from the funds raised at the Boston event as well as those raised by the other 23 TPCs nationwide.
The three charities chosen as the beneficiaries of the fund-raiser -- Homes for Our Troops, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Wounded Warrior Project -- already had visibility on the Professional Golfers Association circuit, thanks to pro golfers lending their support, Connor said.
Pro golfer Phil Mickelson supports Homes for Our Heroes. The nonprofit organization adapts or builds new homes to ensure accessibility for severely disabled servicemembers. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, supported by pro golfer Rory Sabbatini, provides financial support for the families of military personnel lost in the line of duty. Pro golfer Frank Lickliter lends his support to the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides direct programs and services to meet the needs of servicemembers severely injured in the line of duty.
With two shotgun starts, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, a total of 200 golfers took to the course. Others participated in the morning's silent auction or the afternoon's live auction, the proceeds of both going to the total raised. One of the auction items was the use of a Maserati, Ferrari or Lamborghini for a long weekend. When the bid got to $3,500, the Otto Club - a Boston car-share club for exotic automobile aficionados -- donated a second long weekend, which also netted $3,500.
The evening concluded with remarks from John Melia, founder of the Wounded Warrior project, and John Gonsalves, founder of Homes for Our Troops, Connor said. Army Capt. Marc Giamatteo, a beneficiary of the Wounded Warrior Project, also lent his insight into the importance of such organizations, Connor added.
Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison, told participants the event shows America at its best, said Amy Sullivan, sales and marketing manager for TPC of Boston. Sullivan said Barber's message emphasized "people just supporting their troops as men and women, not anything to do with the war."
"I think that kind of hit home with me," Sullivan said.
Barber also acknowledged those who had gathered on a holiday weekend to support the troops, Connor said. Next year's Boston event is tentatively slated for July 2, but event officials said anyone wanting to join the PGA Tour Charities 300 Club can donate $300 by check at any time. The donation will be evenly divided among the three charities supported at the recent event, officials said. For more information on this program, visit the TPC of Boston Web site.