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

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Event SPOTLIGHT: Mendakota Country Club Event – The event that started it all 15 years ago!

Anniversaries are a time to commemorate how we started and celebrate where we are going.

In September of 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops began with one event at Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights, Minnesota and started raising funds and awareness for injured veterans in that inaugural year. This year, on the 15th Anniversary of Tee It Up for the Troops and the Mendakota event, more than 60 events will take place which has allowed us to donate over $10,000,000 since inception for critically needed services for veterans.

Tee It Up for the Troops is all about the PEOPLE. The people who launched this organization 15 years ago, the wonderful veterans connected with our mission and the people who continue to commit volunteer time and talent to our charity events. For the Mendakota Country Club event, the person that rallies the troops of enthusiastic volunteers and sponsors is Rick Dale. Passionate, personal and patriotic describe Rick’s committed character.

“My initial involvement to lead one of the golf events was based on our youngest son who was stationed in a very bad place in the northern Helmund Province in Afghanistan,” said Rick. “Once I started meeting other Tee It Up for the Troops volunteers, employees and the veterans we serve, I got more passionate about it. Then I got to meet the leaders and beneficiaries of the organizations we donate funds to and got hooked. I still remember the first time we visited the Minneapolis VA Hospital where the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) houses and counsels formerly homeless veterans. Listening to the many veterans we meet, it’s easy to get passionate about our mission.”

We are fortunate that Rick is a leader and spokesperson for Tee It Up for the Troops. He not only chairs the Mendakota Country Club event, but he also leads the event at Brackett’s Crossing Country Club in Lakeville, MN held in September.

Rick served in the United States Air Force from 1967 to 1971. He is the son of a WWII Army officer, son-in-law of a WWII Naval officer, brother to five veterans that served from the Korean Conflict through the Vietnam War. He and his wife, Sue, are parents of US Marine Corp Staff Sergeant Eric Dale, who is now assigned to the United States Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus.

There are several key long-time volunteers and sponsors at the annual Mendakota event that make this event exceptional each year. One of those volunteers is Sue Bonfe, a Mendakota Golf Club Member, who interfaces with the club, has a strong passion for older veterans and hosted a special Thanksgiving turkey meal for eight WWII vets and ten Korean war vets as a way of thanking them for their service. The laughter and chatter in the room were non-stop and veterans that hadn’t met before shared their experiences and life stories and left talking about next year.

Tyler Ball

“My father was in the Battle of the Bulge during WWII and since he passed away, I found that volunteering at Tee It Up for the Troops is the best way I can honor his life,” said Sue. “Our members have the chance to meet and share their golf course with many of the wonderful veterans who have experienced tremendous physical and mental challenges. By giving time and funds to this event, I get back much, much more than I can even imagine. I know that I am directly helping improve a veteran’s life. I love that such a high percentage of funds (95% I believe) raised goes directly to the deserving veteran organizations.”

Tee It Up for the Troops is an organization conceived by the parents of a soldier. One of the originators of Tee It Up for the Troops shared this comment in celebration of the 15th anniversary:

“In 2005, our son was serving in Iraq.  When we asked him what he needed, his response was ‘Forget about me, do something for those back home.’ That simple request became the genesis of Tee It Up for the Troops.  Fifteen years later we are humbled that the organization is still honoring that request. Initially created with our family and friends, it was soon followed by sponsors, volunteers, and citizens across the country that were moved to honor the mission to serve those who serve.” -Parents of a Soldier

The event that started it all – Mendakota! Fifteen years and countless volunteer hours per year later, with a volunteer board of directors and small staff to oversee a dedicated army of event leaders, volunteers, sponsors and supporters numbering in the hundreds, Tee It Up for the Troops continues to march forward on its mission of  providing critically needed services for combat veterans and their families, one event at a time.

 

Event SPOTLIGHT: Peoria Illinois

Now in its 11th year, Central Illinois Tee It Up for the Troops offers area golfers a day on the golf course to work on their game while helping American military veterans. But this local fundraising tournament in Peoria, IL is about much more than golf: it’s about giving back to those who have given so much to us.

Founded in 2009 by event coordinators Dr. Frank Benningfield and Steve Carver, the Central Illinois Tee It Up for the Troops event is now organized by Bill Kraft, Jeff Kohlbus along with an executive committee of seven members. What makes this tournament unique is the event is played on two courses approximately four miles apart and has both a morning and afternoon session.

Every August, the organization hosts its annual Golf Classic at the Mt. Hawley Country Club and Country Club of Peoria for a day of fun, camaraderie and remembrance. With exclusive access to the green in the morning, military veterans are invited to share their stories with their foursome while enjoying a round of golf. In last summer’s event, 240 military personnel, past and present, golfed in morning free with all expenses paid for by event sponsors, including the title sponsor, Zanfel Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac Wash.

In the afternoon, high school JROTC teams present the colors, a soloist sings the national anthem saluting our fallen heroes, local families memorialize lost loved ones and the public is offered a chance to personally thank the servicemen and women.  Local service club members volunteer as pin holders at both the morning and afternoon sessions. During the afternoon session, another 240 players including sponsors fill up two different golf courses, Mt Hawley Country Club and the Country Club of Peoria. Despite a heat advisory, there was a great turnout and golfers took to the links for a good cause.  The evening festivities host over 700 people.

Central Illinois Tee It Up for the Troops saves the serious golfing for the serious tournaments and they have fun at this event! American Anthem Vodka set up tables at each course and provided samples of their products in Bloody Mary’s and screwdrivers. Local restaurants, including Buffalo Wild Wings and Qdoba set up food stations during the rounds and gave away their products. Every Par-3 on both courses had a hole in one contest featuring either cash or a car and Dixon Golf sponsored a Par-3 Contest where players could win golf balls and receive certificates worth up to $150 in products.

When asked what inspires him to continue leading this event for our military and veteran organizations, Bill Kraft answered “I continue to serve as event coordinator because I believe it is proper to honor and remember those who have served and are currently serving in our Armed Forces. I enjoy the challenges of bringing together 480 golfers in one day at two different courses and the gratitude our veterans show us for putting on this event in Peoria.”

Bill was presented with a “Patriot Award” for his years of commitment, passion and patriotism displayed in the Peoria Illinois Tee It Up for the Troops events.

“The National Office of Tee It Up for the Troops and its staff, is a tremendous resource for us and all of the affiliated events throughout the country and we would like to thank them for the support they provide,” Bill added.

Bill has been an instrumental part of the Central Illinois Tee It Up for the Troops tournament for 10 years. He was asked to oversee the overflow of participants at the first event in 2009 when a second course was added to accommodate the response from the community. He was offered a position on the executive committee the following year and since just keeps looking forward to offering a unique event aimed at honoring our veterans who have served our country to insure the freedoms enjoyed in the United States.

To date, Central Illinois Tee It Up for the Troops has raised nearly $1,000,000 to benefit both national and local organizations committed to serving veterans and their families. The 2018 event alone brought in $50,000. In the Peoria area, proceeds benefit the Goodwill’s Gen. W.A. Downing Shelter for Homeless Vets, South Side Office of Concern Veterans Haven (a second local shelter for homeless veterans) and Fuller Center of Central Illinois (dedicated to helping military veteran homeowners make repairs on their homes). The group also donates a portion of funds to the national Tee It Up for the Troops organization where Disabled Sports USA, Fisher House, Hope for the Warriors, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Warrior Canine Connection among other veteran service organizations receive proceeds.

This year’s golf classic is set to take place on August 26, 2019. For more information visit: www.teeitupforthetroopsil.org or www.teeitupforthetroops.com

Homeless Vets: Why We All Should Care!

Our Mission to Aid Veterans with Housing, Homelessness and More

Tee It Up for the Troops supports several programs for veterans who have experienced homelessness and need additional support maintaining housing including transitional and comfort housing while getting treatment. In 2018, Tee It Up for the Troops granted over a quarter of a million dollars to veteran housing organizations. Your donations to Tee It Up for the Troops are making a difference not only in Housing & Homelessness for Veterans, but also in our other targeted pillars of need including, Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Treatment of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries, Employment, Golf & Sports Rehabilitation, and Family and Caregiver Support.

In a single night in January 2018, there were nearly 38,000 veterans experiencing homelessness and staying in shelters across our nation, according to a recent Department of Housing and Urban Development report. States with the highest unsheltered veterans are California, Mississippi, Oregon, Hawaii, and Washington.  Research shows that lack of stable housing for veterans presents a significant challenge in obtaining gainful employment and eliminating the barriers and issues that are at the root of homelessness.

The Central Illinois Tee It Up for the Troops event (featured in this issue), allocates part of their proceeds to benefit three local veteran housing programs: General Wayne A. Downing Home for Veterans which provides permanent housing for homeless U.S. Military veterans with an honorable discharge and a diagnosed disability; South Side Office of Concern Veterans Haven, a local shelter for homeless veterans; and Fuller Center dedicated to helping military veteran homeowners make repairs on their homes.

Fisher House Foundation, which provides comfort homes throughout the U.S. where military & veterans families can stay free of charge while a loved one is in the hospital, and Warrior Foundation Freedom Station in San Diego, CA, providing transitional housing designed to assist veterans and their families during both recovery and transition processes, are both major beneficiaries of funds raised at golf events nationwide by Tee It Up for the Troops.

Freedom Station Courtyard
Tee It Up for the Troops supports Warrior Foundation Freedom Station, a unique housing complex designed to provide a training ground for warriors who are making the transition from medically retired to contributing civilian.

Warrior Foundation Freedom Station is the brainchild of Sandy Lehmkuhler, a Navy wife. While volunteering at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, Sandy discovered the difficulties encountered by ill and wounded warriors, making the transition back to civilian life. In 2011, her foundation proudly opened Freedom Station, a unique housing facility and recovery support center for warriors transitioning out of the military.

There are far too many homeless who are veterans…and there’s one thing we should all agree on – you should not be a hero in the Gulf War or any other conflict and be homeless in America. When you support Tee It Up for the Troops by participating in one of our events or making a donation to veterans we serve, you are helping our ill, injured, and medically retired warriors with dignified housing support. These courageous men and women have performed selfless acts to ensure our freedom. Help us to help them by making a contribution at: www.teeitupforthetroops.org/donate-tee-troops/

Industry news coverage – Tee It Up for the Troops Donates 20th E-Z-GO Vehicle to Fisher House Foundation to Assist Disabled Veterans and Their Families

 

Check out all of the news coverage links below! Contact Us with any questions. 

 

The Golf Wire: Working Together to Make Our Heroes’ Lives Better

A golf car is a nice amenity on the golf course, but for families of veterans and active duty service members who are being treated at Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers, golf cars are a valuable and needed mode of transportation.

Golf Course Industry: E-Z-GO partners with Tee It Up for the Troops

Tee It Up for the Troops with their national headquarters in Burnsville, Minn., has partnered with Textron Specialized Vehicles, manufacturer of E-Z-GO vehicles, to donate customized vehicles to Fisher House, a foundation that provides comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay free of charge. Tee It Up for the Troops has donated a “battalion” of E-Z-GO vehicles to Fisher House facilities nationwide, with the recent 20th new ride delivered to the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System in California.

Golfdom

“Tee It Up for the Troops has been there for us and has provided a vehicle to every one of our houses on a VA property that has needed one,” said Brian Gawne, vice president of community relations for Fisher House Foundation. “Parking and getting around on a VA campus has always been a challenge and some families are not mobile. Thanks to Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO, these cars are a godsend when families are facing a tough medical crisis.”

Veterans News Report

For the last seven years, Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO, in partnership with E-Z-GO distributor Versatile Vehicles of Prior Lake, Minn., have delivered several vehicles a year to Fisher Houses across the nation. The first was delivered to the Augusta VA Medical Center in Georgia in 2012, with others reaching the East Coast’s Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland, the West Coast’s Camp Pendleton in California, and midwestern Fisher Houses in Milwaukee, Wisc. and Minneapolis, Minn.

SW News Media

“Electric shuttles that are quiet and efficient can take a whole family or injured warfighter from a Fisher House around the campus to receive therapy or see a doctor,” said Textron Communications Director Brandon Haddock.

Market Screener

‘Recently we had a veteran discharged from the hospital after kidney removal surgery and it would have been extremely painful for him to bend into a vehicle to get back to the Fisher House,’ said Jenny Hall, Manager of the Alaska Fisher House. ‘The golf car allowed him to easily slide in and out at a comfortable height with minimal pain.’

 

Additional coverage:

https://www.golfsupers.com/en/aggregator/sources/1

Tee It Up for the Troops Donates 20th E-Z-GO Vehicle to Fisher House Foundation to Assist Disabled Veterans and Their Families

Tee It Up for the Troops Donates 20th E-Z-GO Vehicle to Fisher House Foundation to Assist Disabled Veterans and Their Families

Tee It Up for the Troops Donates 20th E-Z-GO Vehicle to Fisher House Foundation to Assist Disabled Veterans and Their Families

Working Together to Make Our Heroes’ Lives Better

A golf car is a nice amenity on the golf course, but for families of veterans and active duty service members who are being treated at Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers, golf cars are a valuable and needed mode of transportation. With limited parking and specialized transportation needs, many veterans and their elderly family members are unable to make the journey around a VA hospital campus.

That’s why Tee It Up for the Troops, with their national headquarters in Burnsville, Minn., has partnered with Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, manufacturer of E-Z-GO vehicles, to donate customized vehicles to Fisher House, a foundation that provides comfort homes where military and veteran families can stay free of charge. Tee It Up for the Troops has donated a “battalion” of E-Z-GO vehicles to Fisher House facilities nationwide, with the recent 20th new ride delivered to the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System in California.

For the last seven years, Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO, in partnership with E-Z-GO distributor Versatile Vehicles of Prior Lake, Minn., have delivered several vehicles a year to Fisher Houses across the nation. The first was delivered to the Augusta VA Medical Center in Georgia in 2012, with others reaching the East Coast’s Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland, the West Coast’s Camp Pendleton in California, and midwestern Fisher Houses in Milwaukee, Wisc. and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“Tee It Up for the Troops has been there for us and has provided a vehicle to every one of our houses on a VA property that has needed one,” said Brian Gawne, Vice President of Community Relations for Fisher House Foundation. “Parking and getting around on a VA campus is always a challenge, and some families are not mobile. Thanks to Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO, these cars are a godsend when families are facing a tough medical crisis.”

“Recently we had a veteran discharged from the hospital after kidney removal surgery and it would have been extremely painful for him to bend into a vehicle to get back to Fisher House,” said Jenny Hall, Manager of the Alaska Fisher House. “The golf car allowed him to easily slide in and out at a comfortable height with minimal pain.”

“It’s great teaming up with E-Z-GO and working together to make our heroes’ lives better,” said Tim Wegscheid, President & Executive Director for Tee It Up for the Troops. “I truly believe our veterans and their families are entitled to be taken care of, and donating these vehicles is just one way we do that.”

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

“Electric shuttles that are quiet and efficient can take a whole family or injured warfighter from a Fisher House around the campus to receive therapy or see a doctor,” said Brandon Haddock, Director, Communications at Textron Specialized Vehicles. “The vehicles can traverse facility paths, parking lots, and even into the entry of a VA hospital. It’s great to see how excited people are about the shuttles and to give the veterans something they really need.”

“These stretch electric shuttles, which can comfortably accommodate six passengers, are customized with many added features for the comfort and safety of veterans,” said Gaby Accad, owner of Versatile Vehicles, whose distributorship customizes many of the Fisher House vehicles. Additions include safety lights, turn signals, a rear seat that can convert to a flatbed to carry a wheelchair or other equipment, and a retractable windshield to block wind and rain.

Accad works with local companies to donate custom features, including red, white and blue premium seats embroidered with the Tee It Up for the Troops logo, decals that are applied to the custom-painted cars, and shipping of the cars at donated or reduced rates to their destination.

“What this country has provided to me, it’s the least I can do for our soldiers who put their lives on the line for us to enjoy our freedom and the things we cherish in this country,” Accad said.

Tee It Up for the Troops and E-Z-GO first learned of the need for a small, efficient vehicle to transport wounded warriors in 2011, when they shipped a vehicle to a military base in Afghanistan to help move soldiers to field hospitals and to get those recovering from injuries around the base. From there, the need to meet increased demands for transport of returning service members with disabilities and their families escalated stateside.

“This is just a continuation of our support for veterans who do incredible things for our country,” Wegscheid said of the vehicles.

 

 

Partner Organization SPOTLIGHT: Military Brotherhood Radio

Military Broadcast Radio (MBR) is a non-profit internet radio station (www.MBRadio.us) providing entertainment, information, and support to the military community.  They offer military veterans, active troops, and everyone music of different genres, world news, along with helpful tips of everyday life of a civilian or active military personnel around the world.

Joel Hunt is MBR’s CEO and Show Host of the “H-Train.” As an Army veteran, who was injured during a deployment, Joel has seen his fair share of tough times. His third deployment ended in Baqubah, Iraq after suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and partial leg paralyzation. After returning home, his parents encouraged him to try a military ski camp, specifically for victims of TBIs, as part of his rehab. He ultimately became a US and world ranked adaptive skier and qualified for the World Cup and the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.  Joel retired from skiing after a neck injury and lives in Denver, Colorado where he’s dedicated to helping fellow veterans through MBR. He has been featured in numerous TV news segments, radio and in magazines across the country, from USA Today to The Hollywood Reporter and The American Genius.

MBR also provides military veterans with information on programs and organizations who give assistance to veteran’s specific needs. The H-Train Show has developed a great resource page () that includes nonprofits that help veterans that is based on evaluation of 990 forms, GuideStar reviews and reviews by veterans themselves.

Joel has coordinated MBR on-air interviews with spokespersons from Tee It Up for the Troops to spread the word of our organization and he is a great supporter and partner with Tee It Up for the Troops.

“I used to make fun of the game of golf because I knew nothing about it. I didn’t realize that golf, like skiing, was an outlet to help me through my mother’s death, channel my anger, help my PTSD and help calm me down,” said Joel. “Tee It Up for the Troops is like my family and it’s an honor to name them as a Title Sponsor on our radio station.”

Thank you, Joel, and the MBR team for sharing our mission over the air waves! We love what you are doing every day to support our veterans!

Listen to see how MBR is giving veterans information on needed programs beyond the VA by live-streaming on www.MBRadio.us.

Grant Recipient SPOTLIGHT: Blue Star Families

Blue Star Families builds communities that support military families by connecting research and data to programs and solutions, including career development tools, local community events for families, and caregiver support. Since its inception in 2009, Blue Star Families has engaged tens of thousands of volunteers and serves more than 1.5 million military family members.  Tee It Up for the Troops is proud to partner with Blue Star Families and support such important work.

Tee It Up for the Troops REUNION Outreach Program not only reunites combat veterans, it also includes activities specifically designed to help caregivers with their own well-being.

During Tee It Up for the Troops 2019 REUNION Program in Orlando, Florida, Blue Star Families staff designed and led two breakout sessions for caregivers. In the first session, they led participants through a workshop to create vision boards for the year ahead. This session started by having participants take a PsychArmor Institute course titled, “Self Care,” followed by meaningful discussion and a hands-on activity of creating vision boards focused on the caregiver’s individual health and wellness goals, career goals, and personal/family aspirations and/or goals. After the session, each participant received a caregiver binder of supplies and resources.

The second session focused on careers for caregivers and resources that are available to them but might not be known including the importance of networking, Blue Star Families online career portal and Spouseforce. Spouseforce is an exciting, new, online portal creating connections between military spouses, training partners and employers.

These sessions were impactful for the attending caregivers, as indicated in the following comments:
– “Blue Star Families were amazing!”
– “The best part was talking with other caregivers who “get it”, sharing resources and support for each other!”

Connecting with the caregivers was such an amazing experience,” said Erika Clark, Blue Star Families Careers Manager. “To hear stories of their journey and see their excitement during our sessions was an unbelievable experience. Blue Star Families was excited to be a part of this REUNION and help the caregivers focus on themselves.”

Vicky Perkins, Blue Star Families Solutions Manager and one of the leaders of the breakout sessions at REUNION, had this to say: “The REUNION was such a fantastic event to be a part of. I loved connecting with the caregivers during our sessions and hearing their personal stories. Their commitment to their spouse and to taking care of their families was very important and that showed in our discussions. I love that Tee It Up for the Troops offers an opportunity like REUNION for warriors to connect with comrades and battle buddies from all over the country that they may not have seen or talked to in years. The overall attitude was happiness and contentment. It was amazing, and I am glad that Blue Star Families was invited to lead two workshops where the caregivers could focus on themselves even for just a few short hours.”

Thank you, Erika, Vicky and the entire Blue Star Families team for leading these empowering sessions for caregivers at REUNION!

For more information, visit bluestarfam.org.