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