Event SPOTLIGHT: Vista Valley

Tee it Up for the Troops Vista Valley Raises Money and Spirits

Wounded military members and civilians teed off on September 9, 2019, for a great cause as part of the 11th Tee It Up for the Troops event in Vista, California at the Vista Valley Country Club.

The week also marked our nation’s 18th anniversary of 9/11 where Americans remembered the deadliest attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. At the Vista Valley Country Club fundraising event, attendees remembered all those who served and those who are currently serving to protect the United States.

The founding father of the Vista Valley charity event is George Hall, whose father retired as a Navy Commander having served in WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. With great respect for his father’s service to our country and dismay for the treatment of troops returning from Viet Nam, George wanted to do more for the wounded military coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. He started a small event 17 years ago at the Golf Club of California in Fallbrook, CA during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with about 25 civilian patriots who hosted some active and wounded military members. They enjoyed a day of golf, good food, drinks, and a live auction and raised a little over $15,000 that first year all of which went to wounded warriors. A few years later, George connected with Tee It Up for the Troops to strive for even greater funds to donate.

The event grew and in 2009 was moved to Vista Valley Country Club wherein stepped retired colonel Al Ransom to co-chair with George. Al was a Marine Corps pilot who flew 400 combat missions in Vietnam but back then did not have the financial means to help his fellow vets. Today, retired colonel Ransom and his wife, Cathie, now devote much of their time and good fortune to disabled veterans.

The 11th annual Tee It Up for the Troops Vista Valley drew 160 participants, including 50 active duty service members, mostly from Camp Pendleton and 15 wounded Marines from the Freedom Station at San Diego Naval Medical Center. Proceeds benefit Freedom Station, which houses injured veterans transitioning to civilian life, and the Military YMCA on Camp Pendleton which helps active-duty families.

Michele Riddle and Lee Lemus are also key members of the Vista Valley event team. Together they provide the organization and guidance of what needs to be done based on a timeline and they also handle the accounting, finding volunteers, set-up of the event and other tasks that make this such a smooth event. (possible quote from Michelle coming).

“The support and cooperation of Vista Valley Country Club, their vendors, and many outstanding community members and organizations have been an inspiration to this cause,”  said Al Ransom, Co-Chair of the event. Many supporters make this such a successful charity event. The major supporters are the Anthony W. and Delores J. Desio Foundation and the Donegan-Burns Foundation. Other main supporters include the Midway Foundation, George Hall, Lou Riddle Construction, Al & Cathie Ransom, Vista Valley Real Estate and many more dedicated sponsors.  Instant Imprints has been providing support to Tee It Up for the Troops Vista Valley for several years via finding sponsors, donating time, providing volunteer services and donation of goods and auction items.  For next year, the team has formed a sub-committee that will start in November targeting corporate sponsors to make this a six-figure event.

What makes the Vista Valley event a bit unique is that it continues to host both active and wounded warriors present. “When we ask them to stand during our dinner the ovation they receive has impacted me every year,” said George Hall, Co-Chair. “They are the heroes and it’s great to see our supporters give them the respect they deserve.” Every military guest present and all wounded warriors leave with something as a gift from someone or some group.

Event Co-Chairs, Al Ransom (L) and George Hall (R) received a Patriot Award from Tee It Up for the Troops President Tim Wegscheid for their years of dedication to helping wounded warriors.

This year, an active duty Marine had his golf clubs stolen the week before the event. A generous supporter in the Marine’s four-some bid over $4,000 for a set of golf clubs that would normally cost a lot less and gave them to that Marine. In another act of kindness and patriotism, a very large TV was donated and the person that bought it donated it to a wounded warrior couple that was getting married that week.

“What makes our Tee It Up for the Troops event so meaningful for me is that I go to the San Diego Naval Hospital and I visit with those wounded warriors recovering and I think back on how our wounded warriors were treated when we came home from Vietnam and I never want to see that happen again if I can do anything about it,” added Al Ransom, Co-Chair.

The Vista Valley Tee It Up for the Troops event ceremony held before the golf tournament is a patriotic, moving experience. The ceremony includes an active duty color guard, The National Anthem, a little history of the American flag and recognition of those that have made the ultimate sacrifice followed by Taps.  A small display and replica of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier sit front and center with a rifle, helmet, boots and dog tags that read “Fallen Heroes, Never Forgotten, Always Honored.”

Originator George Hall’s impact with Tee It Up for the Troops Vista Valley can best be explained by his Co-Chair Al, who uses an aircraft analogy. “George is the fuel and ‘Big Throttle’ for this event and we are the engine to his aircraft. What we achieve following the event are the wings that give us the lift to keep going.”

Thank you Tee It Up for the Troops Vista Valley for your passion in stepping up for wounded warriors! Keep lifting those wings!

Tee It Up for the Troops Named 2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit by GreatNonprofits

Tee It Up for the Troops Named 2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit by GreatNonprofits

Award Based on Outstanding Online Reviews

Tee It Up for the Troops, with their national headquarters in Burnsville, Minn.,  announced today it has been named a “2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit” by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews of charities and nonprofits.

Tee It Up for the Troops provides critically needed services to combat veterans and their families and has hosted more than 500 fundraising events in over 40 states over the last 15 years, allowing the non-profit organization to donate over $10 million to veteran service organizations.

“We are honored to be named a Top-Rated 2019 Nonprofit,” says Tim Wegscheid, President & Executive Director for Tee It Up for the Troops. “We are humbled that so many veterans, family members, donors, volunteers and supporters took time to tell others how the Tee It Up for the Troops mission is impacting their lives. This award is incredibly special to us, in this, our 15th anniversary of dedicated service to support all those who serve(d) in the Armed Forces of our great nation.”

The Top-Rated Nonprofit award was based on the large number of positive reviews that Tee It Up for the Troops received – reviews written by volunteers, donors, and military veterans and family member aid recipients. People posted their personal experiences with the nonprofit.

For example, one combat veteran wrote, “After losing my leg in Iraq to a rocket propelled grenade, I needed a goal and direction. Tee It Up for the Troops helped me to set a goal with a sport that I can continue for a lifetime.” Another supporter wrote, “Tee It Up for Troops is in the life changing business!! They are selfless servants of our military community. Always giving of themselves to make other lives better. They have definitely changed our lives!!”

“Savvy donors want to see the impact of their donations more than ever,” said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits. “People with direct experience with Tee It Up for the Troops have voted that the organization is making a real difference.”

GreatNonprofits is the leading website where people share stories about their personal experiences on more than 1.6 million charities and nonprofits. The GreatNonprofits Top-Rated Awards are the only awards for nonprofits determined by those who have direct experience with the charities – as donors, volunteers and recipients of aid.

To read about our five star ratings, reviews and add your own review if interested, please visit: https://greatnonprofits.org/org/tee-it-up-for-the-troops-inc

Grant Recipient SPOTLIGHT: Service Dogs

For dog lovers, the unconditional love of a canine companion heals the soul. For veterans suffering with debilitating physical and mental disorders, the canine companion not only brings independence and a feeling of safety, but also heals our warriors and saves lives by giving a new measure of hope and happiness. Service dogs are devoted companions, helpers, aides, best friends and a close member of their family.

While serving in Afghanistan, Airborne Infantryman and Tee It Up for the Troops supporter and warrior Reid Erickson was injured from multiple IED’s, an anti-tank missile, bomb blasts and was also shot. His constant companion and service dog, Melton, helps him cope with blackouts, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Like many other combat veterans, Melton has given Reid a reason to wake up everyday and is a distraction from the flashbacks of combat.

Because we believe that every hero deserves to heal, Tee It Up for the Troops supports several service dog organizations, including those highlighted below. These organizations help ensure that hope and happiness are obtainable for our disabled American veterans.

K9s For Warriors provides service canines to warriors suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma as a result of military service post 9/11. Their goal is to empower warriors to return to civilian life with dignity and independence. They are the nation’s largest provider of service dogs for disabled American veterans.

Warrior Canine Connection enlists recovering warriors in a therapeutic mission to train highly-skilled service dogs that provide years of mobility and social support to veterans with disabilities. By interacting with the dogs as they move from puppyhood to training to adult service dogs, Warrior Trainers benefit from a physiological and psychological animal-human connection. As a result of their efforts, veterans with disabilities receive the finest in trained service dogs.

The VA has engaged in a multi-year study into the use of service dogs for PTSD, but they have not announced their conclusions and deny funding them as a treatment  for PTSD. It’s only through extraordinary personal effort and grants, that thousands of vets have been paired with trained service dogs and the outcomes have been life changing.

The cost of service dog programs per dog is approximately $27,000 to train and place a service dog. Every hero deserves to heal! Help our veterans who need a highly-trained canine teammate by donating to Tee It Up for the Troops here: www.teeitupforthetroops.org/donate-tee-troops