Through the fog could be seen nearly 50 veterans, many showing visible signs of injury, some missing an arm, others a leg. With cameras and phones in hand, they gathered around rows of white folding chairs near the end of the range.
They were there to see David Leadbetter and Lydia Ko.
The World No.1 LPGA golfer, Lydia Ko, joined instructor David Leadbetter in leading a clinic for Tee It Up For the Troops, an organization that reconnects soldiers who are wounded, injured, or ill at an annual REUNION event. This year, 45 veterans reunited during the four-day event at, by no coincidence, Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida.
“It’s an exciting day,” says Tarryl Clark, Chair of the HomeFront Resource Center. “We had hundreds of people who participated in some way — volunteers or golfers at the event — who helped raise a good chunk of this money.”
Clark, who is also Dean of Sciences, Technology and Math at the school, says they are currently raising money for the design phase of the HomeFront Center.
“The enthusiasm and commitment [seen] from everybody here to continue to be a part of this is really exciting.”
The HomeFront Resource Center, which is expected to open in the fall of 2017, will provide information, counseling, and other services to the veteran community.
The donated funds were raised at the 2015 Tee It Up for the Troops events held at the St. Cloud Country Club and Mendakota Country Club.
Military Network Radio with Linda Kreter & co-host Pamela Stokes Eggleston presents:
Combat Affected Veterans & the Game of Golf…
Golf. It’s more than just a game. The intrinsic power of a new skill, renewed independence, networking, the great outdoors, the greens, and being with other veterans and golfers is all part of the value and benefit of golf. More than anything, the sport of golf, the camaraderie of veterans, and the amazing feats they have accomplished on and off the course set a new standard of friendship and respect.
Communities also benefit from meeting and playing competitively with veterans to help bridge that “sweet spot” of understanding between military and civilian members.
Tee It Up for the Troops, a growing non-profit organization serving our military veterans, is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN and has an exciting new opportunity. We are adding a full-time Manager – Events and Business Development position to our team to manage many aspects of our fundraising golf events across the country. Primary responsibilities include planning, development, marketing and communication of key initiatives to community volunteer committees.
We need a talented individual who brings a strong focus to best practices and ensures alignment with our organizational mission. Must be a strong and effective communicator, be self-directed, and experienced with sales prospecting and revenue generation. The ideal candidate will possess the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree in Business or a related field and 3 years minimum experience in a sales or business development role. Knowledge of golf fundraising events considered beneficial. Please note that Tee It Up for the Troops is proud to be a veteran friendly organization and will give priority to veterans. A full Job Description is available upon request.
At Camp Soaring Eagle, they have been talking about what a difference Tee It Up for the Troops has made in the lives of kids whose parent(s) are veterans and/or are currently deployed. Thanks to a grant from Tee It Up for the Troops, the children and families greatly benefit from their camping experience at Camp Soaring Eagle. Participants enjoy fishing, archery, horseback riding, arts & crafts, and a number of other activities.
Katie Deutschman with Camp Soaring Eagle said, “Thank you ever so much for helping us to make it happen… the relief, the smiles, and the fun that the children drink up while they are at camp!”
Founded in 2002, Anytime Fitness is a fast-growing franchise chain that recently opened its 3,000th gym worldwide. But how this particular franchise opened has a distinctly local flair.
As a way to thank military veterans for their service and to encourage additional employment options once they step out of uniform, the company partnered with Tee It Up for Troops to establish the Heartfirst Foundation. Their first joint initiative — Operation Heartfirst — provides a $125,00 grant plus a $125,000 low-interest loan as base funding to allow a selected military veteran the opportunity to open their own Anytime Fitness franchise. The program specifically targets markets with a high military concentration and, in turn, the goal is for the gym to provide employment for more veterans.
“We chose the general location of where the awardee will build their gym because we want these clubs to open in communities that serve a military base. “Based on these goals, we selected the greater Fayetteville area for the first gym to be built with Operation Heartfirst,” said Mark Daly, national media director with Anytime Fitness.
Tim Wegscheid, president of Tee It Up for Troops, said they sought candidates with distinguished records of military service who were eager to help others lead healthier lifestyles and those who had continued to serve and support the U.S. military and its veterans.
“We looked for candidates with a passion for fitness and community engagement,” Wegscheid said. “The Ambrozewskis fit that description exactly.”
Hannah and Tristan Ambrozewski served as intelligence analysts with the U.S. Army from 2005 to 2012. The couple met at basic training, married, and balanced multiple overseas deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade.
Now, both honorably discharged, Tristan continues to perform similar duties for a Department of Defense contractor. After leaving active duty, Hannah said she missed doing physical training every day, so she purchased a small franchise called Stroller Strides, which is a child-friendly fitness program designed for moms and caregivers of little ones.
“I had always wanted to own a gym so that was a great place to start,” she said. “We always wanted to own our own business.”
When the couple learned about the Heartfirst Foundation and its grant program, they quickly applied and were thrilled to be selected. The grant and loan funding provides necessary start-up capital to open their gym.
“We’re incredibly excited to help veterans and non-veterans alike in our community learn how to lead healthier lifestyles,” said Hannah, who will have primary responsibility for the day-to-day operations and management of the gym. “We also love the idea of being able to provide jobs to other military veterans.”
Article by Laura, Douglass, Staff Writer, ThePilot.com