A Tribute to Vince Flynn

Vince-Flynn-2On June 19, 2013, best-selling author Vince Flynn died after a three-year battle with prostate cancer. Vince was involved in Tee it up for the Troops since the early days and served on our Advisory Committee and as our National Spokesperson. His support and advocacy on behalf of all of the men and women who serve, and have served in our United States Military, will be dearly missed. We are thankful for his life and are blessed to have been able to call him a friend. Our thoughts and prayers remain with his wife, Lysa, and their three children, his parents Terry and Kathy, and his family and friends.

For information on Vince Flynn please visit his website http://www.vinceflynn.com

Vince Flynn was a Man’s Man – Tribute by Rush Limbaugh

St. Paul Pioneer Press Obituary

New York Times obituary


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PawPADS – Stories of Freedom

By Randy Patrick, PawPADS Director of Operations 

Tee it up for the Troops has been a partner and friend of PawPADs for three years, and we never forget to express our gratitude.  As you know, the “PawPADs Difference” is that we use the value of the training and association with the dogs during training as therapeutic – sometimes healing – always inspiring  tool while the dogs are in the journey from puppyhood to partnership. We built our Paw Corps Program on a donation from TIUFTT and your continuing support has helped us grow and “grow up.” We aren’t the biggest Service Dog organization on the Minnesota map, but I dare say we are the one with the most integrity and heart and guts! We are making a difference in lives through Paw Corps and all our programs and we are proud to have TIUFTT on our side.

Recently we placed two dogs (Kachina and Hania), which were trained by Veterans in the Paw Corps program as Diabetic Alert Dogs.  Jill, whose 8 year old son, Nick, is partnered with Kachina, has told us that Kachina is “literally a life saver” for her son…alerting them in the middle of the night to Nicks dangerously plunging blood sugar levels.  Hania has been partnered with Katie Stuber, a volatile diabetic whose blood sugar levels rocket and plunge with alarming and life threatening speed. Katie is the wife of Lt. Joe Stuber, a Minnesota National Guard leader who is preparing for his deployment in a few weeks to Afghanistan. Hania will be on guard over Katie’s health 24/7 while Lt. Stuber guards our freedom in Afghanistan.  Lt. Stuber told me recently that If “she (Kachina) alerts just once while I’m gone, he will be worth it.” Hania, by the way, has alerted to Katie’s fluctuations dozens of times in the few short weeks he has been partnered with Katie!

How did TIUFTT make the difference in these three examples of many?

  • The Paw Corps veterans who helped train these dogs, Steve and Scott, still struggle with their PTSD and other issues, but both have told us their lives are immeasurably better for having become involved in this program.
  • We were able to place Hania with Lt. Stuber free of charge because of our relationship with TIUFTT. We feel that with Hania on the watch, Lt. Stuber will be more focused on his job, and perhaps be able to return home safely.
  • Darla J., another Paw Corps volunteer who has 5 deployments between herself and her husband with the Minnesota National Guard helped train Macy, who is living with and working with the veterans in the Hastings Veterans Home. Again, Darla has told us that her life is changed for her part in Paw Corps.
  • TIUFTT has helped enable PawPADs to feed the dogs, pay the heating bills, train the dogs, heal the dogs, and, sad to say, bury the Paw Corps mascot Maska (“Tank”). The dogs have helped change so many lives and we’ve only placed a few!

Excerpt from “Training a Dog to Train Me”

Written by: Jonathon Gordon, U.S. Marine working for the Warrior Canine Connection in Washington, D.C.

In today’s world everybody focuses on the negatives. Whether it is the media following all the negative news; people noticing the faults in everyone else; and in parenting, where wrong behavior doesn’t go unpunished and right behavior is seldom rewarded. Having a 5 year old daughter, I fell right into the trend. Little time was spent praising her for the things she did right, while most of my energy was focused on the negative things she did.

Far left: Rick Yount (Warrior Canine Connection Founder) with Freedom, Gil McMillan (Air Compassion for Veterans), Nancy Christopherson (Executive Director for Tee it up for the Troops), Rose and Dan Schadegg (TIUFTT sponsors) and Jonathan Gordon (kneeling) with Birdie. Picture taken at the Warrior Canine Connection program at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, Washington, D.C

Fortunately, I was privileged with an internship, training future service dogs. Training a dog requires patience I never realized I could have. And while I was training the dogs, they were also training me, unknowingly at first, how to be a better parent. With training a dog, simple tasks are easy. Sit; down; stay; come; they are all very basic, while more advanced tasks such as opening a door or turning on or off a light are very time consuming and stressful on both dog and trainer.

Shaping the behavior of a dog as well as a child requires a constant presence, almost as if you had eyes in the back of your head, as well as consistent positive and negative reinforcement. Focusing on just the bad things pushes the bond needed away and reinforces negative behavior. Focusing on just the positives they tend to push boundaries, create their own limits and their own agendas while you are taken advantage of.

The dogs, as well as children can sense when they are in charge of a situation.  You can’t make it personal, but at the same time you can’t lose. Again being patient and calm, making your commands firm, known, but again being unemotional is the key, and at times very difficult.  Always ending on a positive note is key for the dog to learn and be enthusiastic about trying about the following day or next time the switch is presented.

The same idea applies to children. Each child is different and has their own motivation and agenda they work off of, so each child ultimately requires different techniques to get the appropriate response from. But with that, the same basic concepts apply. Finding something rewarding for them, and being a constant presence with the rewards as well as firm and fair with the punishments.

As I said before, in the beginning my parenting techniques were not very well established. My patience was low, and I rarely rewarded her for doing something right, but harped on her for what she would do wrong.  A lot of it is a learned trait picked up from how I was parented, and though I have no problems with how I was raised, I believe there are always ways for things to be done better. I know the reactions I received as a child caused me to rebel a lot more than most kids, and I feared the same out of my daughter.  Working with the dogs has slowly but surely molded my behavior into a more efficient way of parenting. Having the patience to work through difficult learning experiences and understanding how far a dog can be pushed can also be applied to my parenting techniques with my daughter.

Working with the service dogs has given me a common connection for teaching my daughter, and the dogs have trained me just as much if not more than I have trained them. There is still a lot of work and progress to be made for me, but the foundation is there, and continues to grow. It has come with mixed reviews, as I still don’t have it all right, but has brought out a new person in myself as well as my daughter. She has her set boundaries, knows what is expected of her, and loves the new found rewards she gets for doing it right.

Being a TIUFTT Sponsor

On April 3rd the Tee it up for the Troops national office hosted a reception for our 2011 Flagship Event sponsors.   The purpose of the reception was to recognize the invaluable contributions that many businesses and individuals have made to support the Tee it up for the Troops mission and our continued growth.  Present at the reception were several active and retired military personnel as well as four Gold Star Families.  The Gold Star families received special recognition during the reception as they each shared the name of their fallen soldier.  After the brief presentation reception participants had the opportunity to mingle and share their stories with each other regarding how Tee it up for the Troops has made a difference in their lives.  Listed below is one of the many poignant stories that was witnessed that evening.

Randy Schumacher and his business partner, James ‘JB’ Ball, of BC&I Wealth Management have been a business sponsor for the Annual TIUFTT Flagship Event since 2005.  JB is also the founder of TIUFTT.  After the presentation at the Sponsorship Reception, Schumacher approached a couple of the Gold Star Families to extend his thanks for the service and sacrifice of each families’ fallen soldier.  He then went on to tell the Gold Star families about how he was first approached about being a sponsor for the first TIUFTT Flagship Event.

Schumacher shared, “JB came up to me one afternoon and said that he would like to put on a golf event to support our troops, and by the way, we will name it Tee it up for the Troops.  At the time JB’s son, Tyler, was serving in Iraq.  We all recognized that JB, his wife Laurie and other family members needed a positive outlet to channel their nervous energy regarding having a son serving in the Iraq military conflict.”

After a couple of years of many successful TIUFTT events, growth of the organization, and community engagement; Schumacher confessed that his and JB’s business partnership had become strained.  Now years later, after having heard and witnessed firsthand the impact that TIUFTT is making in the lives of military veterans and their families, he fully recognizes why JB’s passion was to work nonstop to support the men and women that have given so much to support this great nation.

“We have worked through our differences and have moved forward. In the the grand scheme of things, it is about support for TIUFTT, an organization that is making a difference.  There is no hardship compared to the sacrifices that soldiers and their families are making on a daily basis,” Schumacher said. The Gold Star Families have lost a son or daughter, but the memory of each of their fallen soldiers continues to live on through their stories that are shared at TIUFTT events and other programs that recognize and support our military.

How about you?  Are you interested in being a sponsor for a Tee it up for the Troops event or provide volunteer support in some way?  If yes, please contact our national office and we can provide you with additional opportunities about how you can be more involved with Tee it up for the Troops and contribute to our mission to honor, respect, remember and support our military veterans and their families.

Winner of Motorcycle Raffle Announced!

The winner of the 2012 Victory Motorcycle Raffle was drawn on Friday, December 9th at 10 a.m. at the National Office for Tee it up for the Troops.  The winner is Jon Vee from Fairbault, MN.  Jon is a Golf Pro at Faribault Country Club and was very excited to be picked as the winner.  Congratulations to Jon and thank you to everyone that purchased a raffle ticket in support of Tee it up for the Troops.

TIUFTT National Event Sponsor Gives Back

This past weekend a group of volunteers from TDS, a national TIUFTT event sponsor, and Tee it up for the Troops went shopping for items for care packages.  They put together special Ziploc baggies for soldiers plus and additional box or two for each location that contained an assortment of goodies such as games, magazines, DVDs, personal care items, toys and small gifts for the local children, as well as other surprise holiday items.

Another group of volunteers baked 3,500+ cookies.  The cookies are being sent to three different units in Afghanistan (total of 135 soldiers) along with the care packages.  There will also be a large batch of cookies delivered to the MAC-V house at the VA hospital in Minneapolis.

TDS chose to do this as way to show their support, care and concern for each member of the troops.  The message that TDS wishes to convey to each soldier is, “God bless all of you! Hope this makes the holidays a little brighter!  You are not forgotten!”

To learn more about TDS you can visit their website at www.tdstelecom.com.

Founding Fathers Lager to Benefit Military Families

Founding-Fathers-Logo-300x218Founding Fathers Beer, a new American lager that is both owned and brewed in the United States, will be donating half of its profits to the families of military troops.  In Minnesota, the profits will be administered through non-profit organizations and Tee it up for the Troops was one of the two organizations selected.

Founding Fathers Products is a company dedicated to producing products that represent the ideals embraced by early America.  “The largest breweries in America are now foreign-owned and Founding Fathers is not only owned and brewed in America, but half of our profits will go to those serving in our armed forces and their families,” said Phil Knutsen, founder and CEO.  “We are thrilled to be introducing a new beer choice to Americans that will both taste great and compete with national brands.”

For more information about Founding Fathers Beer, visit www.foundingfathersbrewingco.com.



Give to the Max Day

The Great Minnesota “GIVE” Together

Together, we have the power to help our veterans  as they face the challenges of returning home to “new normals” following their injuries.

Today, is Give to the Max Day and your donation to Tee it up for the Troops will offer a better life for our veterans and their families.

As you consider your charitable end-of-year giving, please consider participating in Give to the Max Day November 16. GiveMN is easy to use, and your gift to Tee it up for the Troops will make a huge difference to our ongoing work.  Your gift makes a BIG difference.

More about Give to the Max Day

What if you could help us win $1000 just by giving 10 bucks? On November 16, Give to the Max Day, you can.

Last year, more than 42,000 donors logged on to GiveMN.org and gave over $10 million to Minnesota charities in 24 hours during Give to the Max Day. Together, we have the power to raise millions of dollars for thousands of nonprofits. Tee it up for the Troops, with GiveMN.org – a first-of-its-kind giving website for nonprofits in Minnesota – is working to create a stronger nonprofit community for Minnesota.

GiveMN’s Give to the Max Day amplifies your giving impact in a number of ways:

  1. Win a Golden Ticket! $1,000 will be given to a random donor’s charity every hour. You could be that donor! Our goal is to raise $20,000 which could be raised via 200 – $100 donations or 400 – $50 donations or a combination of the two.
  2. Put us on the Leader Board! $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 prize grants will be awarded to the top three nonprofit organizations (colleges and universities excluded) which receive the most dollars in 24 hours during Give to the Max Day.
  3. NEW THIS YEAR! $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000 prize grants will be awarded to the top three small nonprofit organizations – with budgets under $750,000 – which receive the most dollars on Give to the Max Day.

Click on the giveMN.org logo above  to access the TIUFTT giving page.

TIUFTT Nominated for the Joining Forces Community Challenge.

Joining-Forces-300x208In April 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces, a national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families. The initiative aims to educate, challenge, and spark action from all sectors of our society — citizens, communities, schools, non-profits, faith-based institutions, philanthropic organizations, and government — to ensure military families have the support they have earned.

In an effort to recognize those citizens and organizations with a demonstrated, genuine, and deep desire to be of service to military families, the First Lady and Dr. Biden have established the Joining Forces Community Challenge.  The Challenge was established with the expectation that recognizing and celebrating those who are dedicated to improving the lives of military families will have the added benefit of encouraging others to do so as well.

To learn more about the Joining Forces Community Challenge click here.

Thank you to Kristen Howland for nominating Tee it up for the Troops for the Joining Forces Community Challenge.  Posted below is a copy of the nomination letter she submitted.

I am nominating the organization TEE IT UP FOR THE TROOPS for your consideration for the JOINING FORCES COMMUNITY CHALLENGE


I am a volunteer for this amazing organization, which was started by my good friend, James “JB” BALL. TEE IT UP FOR THE TROOPS (TIUFTT) was established in 2005 by JB. His son, Tyler Ball enlisted in the US Army after 9-11, 2001 and was deployed to Iraq shortly thereafter. You can only imagine the concern we all had for Tyler during this highly volatile time serving in this unstable part of the world. Tyler’s dad and mom, JB and Laurie, asked their son what he needed them to send. Tyler responded by telling his dad, “We have everything we need here, but please do something for the soldiers and their families back home. They are the ones who really need the help.” TIUFTT was created to honor that request and to recognize the needs of those who have served and continue to serve this great nation through their military service.

The main event established for TIUFTT was the National Day of Golf. Since it began in 2005, it has grown to include numerous golf outings throughout the country where proceeds benefit veterans from every military branch and conflict. Each year the event is scheduled on the Friday closest to September 11th. It started locally in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the Mendakota Country Club, and has quickly grown to include golf outings at hundreds of golf courses across the country. This is a day to salute all who have answered the call of duty in service to their country. The mission is to honor, respect, remember and support the sacrifices of all veterans AND their families. Monies raised at these events go to support organizations that make a difference in the lives of these very special people. It is the goal of TIUFTT to give 95% of the proceeds directly to any of the armed services vets. Just a few of those organizations include:

The mission of DSUSA is to provide national leadership and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports, recreation and educational programs. The organization, established in 1967 by disabled Vietnam vets, exists to serve those injured in war. DSUSA offers nationwide sports rehabilitation programs to anyone with a permanent disability. Activities include winter skiing, water sports, summer and winter competitions, fitness and special sporting events.

Fisher House Foundation donates “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and BA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to their loved one at the most stressful time – during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to assist families in need and to ensure that they are provided with the comforts of home in a supportive environment.

Hope for the Warriors exists to enhance quality of life for US service members and their families nationwide who have been adversely affected by injuries or death in the line of duty. Hope for the Warriors actively seeks to ensure that the sacrifices of wounded and fallen warriors and their families are never forgotten nor their needs unmet.

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund supports the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. In January 2007 the fund opened a world-class, state-of-the-art physical rehabilitation center at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The center serves military personnel who have been catastrophically disabled in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and veterans severely injured in other operations and in normal performance of their duties. Here they also treat Traumatic Brain Injury and provide advanced services for treatment, family education, and post-traumatic stress.

The Wounded Warrior Project carries out its mission of honoring and empowering wounded warriors by providing unique programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

If you haven’t had the privilege, I wish you could attend one of these amazing golf events. I have worked at every event since 2005 and each year is better than the year before – and I don’t even golf! The event starts very early in the morning and goes until about midnight. It is a celebrity golf tournament, yes. There is a round of morning golf and an afternoon as well. In between, there is a special program and a lunch for all participants and sponsors. The program includes the entrance down the green of a group of bagpipers in full regalia, the singing of the national anthem and a most moving presentation of an honorary wreath to honor fallen soldiers by the Gold Star Mothers representing the State of Minnesota. But there’s so much more: a live American Eagle display where people can ask questions and hold a live eagle, a demonstration group of working service dogs, a missing man formation flyover and the landing of a Blackhawk helicopter (in the helicopter are veterans representing all wars dating back to WWII). After the day of golf there is a massive silent and live auction and a wonderful banquet to celebrate all the servicemen and women. It is an event that everyone walks away from – a changed person. The most important part is the celebrities, of course there are professional sports figures and other celebs, but the REAL celebrities are real-life soldiers who’ve been wounded, many are amputees, some are missing multiple limbs. They come to golf in specially equipped carts made just for them and are honored by everyone in attendance by their presence. The organization flies them in from Walter Reed and other facilities. TIUFTT gives them the red-carpet treatment and each has their own moving story to share.

Now the National Day of Golf raises funds at courses across the nation, but beyond that, golf courses, nationwide, can participate on different levels by making donations to TIUFTT as well. Organizations and businesses can become sponsors as well and this is a very big part of organizing the event. JB started TIUFTT, but it is operated by a governing board. The event itself is run by JB and his family, the board and hundreds of giving volunteers who believe equally in the effort.

Here is one short story of Charles Eggleston, a Purple Heart Recipient:

“Tee it up for the Troops is one of those rare organizations that truly cares about the service members and veterans of this country. I am so humbled and thankful to be involved with them. When I was at Walter Reed, I was thinking that I wouldn’t be able to participate in any sporting activities after all of my surgeries. I was at rock bottom because of injuries sustained in a IED blast in Iraq, and Tee it up for the Troops gave me words of inspiration and support. Golf and Tee it up for the Troops has opened the door to the many possibilities before me, and it has given me a greater appreciation and zest for life and purpose as to what I should do with the time have left on this earth to help my fellow soldiers and veterans. So to you James Ball, and Tee it up for the Troops, thanks for a helping hand in the midst of our troubled times.”

I have heard dozens of stories over the years just like this – stories of young men and women who had been so terribly injured that they’d lost all hope of ever experiencing life as they once knew it. It may seem difficult to believe, but a simple game of golf has made such a huge difference to so many. And the money that has been raised, did I mention over $4 million dollars in just seven years? All because of the request of one young soldier to his dad. “Dad, help the soldiers and their families back home,” and the dad who had a heart for the mission set before him and the gumption to make it a reality.

TEE IT UP FOR THE TROOPS, INC. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Their mission is to honor, respect and remember the service of those who have given so freely to protect our great nation. TIUFTT raises monetary support for the needs of veterans and their families through events at both private and public golf courses, stand-alone fundraising events, sponsorships and direct donations. It is with these funds that the organization is committed to assisting those who have served us so well.

For more information, contact 952-646-2490, or go online to info@teeitupforthetroops.org

Tee it up for the Troops has been able to make a huge difference in the lives of many veterans and their families because of support from the American public. Golfers, sponsors, and citizens across the country have “stepped up to the tee” to say “thank you” to the members of the US Armed Forces and their families.

1st Annual Tee it up for the Troops Reunion Event

reunion_logo You are invited to join us for the First Annual Tee it up for the Troops Reunion Event on January 4-8 in Orlando, Florida. This event is the perfect place to start an annual “reunion” with old friends, relatives, classmates or comrades who you haven’t seen in awhile.

You will enjoy 4 days and 4 nights of World Class Golf at Reunion Resort on all three of our signature courses, daily casual and fine dining events, and spacious overnight accommodations that will make you feel like you are relaxing in your home away from home.

Join us as we combine 4 days of fun, fellowship and a golf competition in honor of the men and women in uniform that have fought for this great nation.  To download an official entry form for this event, please
click here.