On behalf of all of those who “stepped up to the tee” at our 2016 events, we were able to donate over $1,000,000 to veteran support organizations, including a $20,000 donation to CreatiVets! We are proud to support organizations like Creativets who are making a difference in the lives of our American heroes!
Jeremy Durbin, Executive Director of Creativets, said “Your donation has allowed us to provide songwriting sessions and art programming for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. Through these experiences, participants have learned the benefits of using art and music as a form of stress and anxiety relief. They have also created incredible songs and artwork that have enabled them to tell their stories in a way that creates something beautiful from something tragic.”
“Even though my friends and family do not understand what it was like in Iraq, I believe my song gives them a better understanding of what I went through while deployed.” – Veteran Participant, Songwriting Program
CreatiVets’ mission is to provide disabled veterans with the opportunity to use art, music and creative writing to address the psychological and emotional needs that arise from service-related trauma. Our goal is to empower veterans with tools they can use for the rest of their lives to combat stress, depression and other side effects of war.
“It’s hard to express in words how I felt after that experience, but I know I let go of something deep and feel that this experience is going to allow me to maintain that positive attitude while giving me the courage to live a meaningful life with my children. ” – Veteran Participant, Art Program
We love this letter we received from K9s For Warriors regarding the use of the grant awarded to them by Tee It Up for the Troops!
Dear Mr. Wegscheld & Tee It Up for the Troops,
Thank you so much for your recent grant award. Your grant will help with the continued equipment and building costs of the second kennel, which officially opened in September, 2016. Having this additional kennel vastly increases our service dog training capability, adding 31 new stalls to our campus. Once filled, we will be able to speed up the rate at which we pair warriors and canines, saving the lives of dogs and veterans faster.
Currently, we accommodate 6-8 warriors per class. Our goal for 2017 is to increase class sizes to 10 members, as we try our hardest to fight against the suicide epidemic of post-9/11 heroes. The additional kennel is key to meeting this goal. It allows us to have more dogs available and ready to pair with the warriors who need them most. In 2016, we graduated 72 warrior-canine teams! That indicates a total of 144 lives saved last year, counting just graduates. However, our statistics are even better than that, because we saved a total of 190 dogs! Those that weren’t evaluated as good fits for service work were adopted into homes of eager, dedicated dog lovers.
We are fortunate to hear many touching testimonies from the veterans who get “a new leash on life” from our program. Brad was a member of our November, 2016 class along with his service dog, Bear. We have included his photo as an attachment to this update. Here is his quote describing his newfound hope:
“I tried everything under the sun, from medications to neurological treatments. After going through K9s’ program, I now have peace of mind that my future will be better than my past. K9s saves veterans, making them functional citizens, with the help of an animal that would’ve most likely been euthanized. I now have hope for my life.” – Brad & Bear, November 2016 graduates.
Thank you again for your generosity. We look forward to continuing this partnership to help our military veterans reintegrate into society.
CEO, K9s For Warriors
December 7, 2016 (Irvine, Calif.) — Signature Control Systems, Inc., a global leader in Internet-based irrigation control, and Tee It Up for the Troops, a national veterans service non-profit, announced today a national partnership to support the care of our nation’s veterans and military families.
The partnership will provide significant proceeds from Signature’s golf and turf product sales to Tee It Up for the Troops to help local and national veterans service organizations.
“Our organization is grateful for Signature’s support and partnership,” said Tim Wegscheid, President of Tee It Up for the Troops. “Golf is fundamental to our mission and serves as critical therapy for so many of our nation’s combat veterans. Signature’s leadership in irrigating and protecting golf courses makes this a truly synergistic partnership.”
Minnesota-based Tee It Up for the Troops hosts approximately 40 golf events across the United States each year to raise funds for combat altered veterans and their families. It provides over $1 million in direct funding annually to various veterans service providers, including: Fisher House Foundation, Hope for the Warriors, and Warfighter Sports (a division of Disabled Sports USA), among others.
Signature Control Systems is a natural partner for Tee It Up for the Troops. The company has been a leader in golf course turf irrigation control and supplies for nearly 20 years. Its equipment can be found on hundreds of golf courses around the globe.
“Our military service members protect our homeland with honor and sacrifice,” said Brian J. Smith, CEO and Founder of Signature. “Signature has a duty to support those who are injured or lose their lives during their service. Supporting the mission and services provided by Tee It Up for the Troops and their partner organizations will help us fulfill this duty.”
The partnership began to form when Smith encountered Tee It Up for the Troops and its local service partners at a Southern California tournament hosted by the organization.
“I was profoundly impacted by their mission,” Smith continued. “It was humbling to witness the positive effect this organization and its partners are having on our disabled veterans – men and women who have given beyond what we can imagine. Tim and I immediately began discussions on how we could form a partnership. It’s been terrific.”
The partnership was formalized in late November 2016. Signature will serve as Tee It Up for the Troops’ exclusive irrigation partner and joins an impressive list of leading golf and corporate partners, including Bridgestone Golf, PING, Textron, Inc/EZ GO, and Anytime Fitness.
About Signature Control Systems:
Signature is an advanced technology company and the industry leader in On-line Intelligent Irrigation Control. Signature introduced the industry’s first Web-Based Intelligent Irrigation products in 1999, and their patented Share™ Irrigation Control Technology is currently saving millions of gallons of water annually for cities and homeowners across drought-stricken Southern California. Along with their innovative Share™ Smart Controllers, Signature produces a comprehensive line of best-in-class irrigation products tailor-made for homeowners, landscape managers, municipal parks, property managers, and golf course superintendents. With world headquarters located in Irvine, CA and manufacturing facilities in Peoria, IL, all Signature products are wholly designed and manufactured in the USA. For more information, please visit us at: www.signaturecontrolsystems.com.
About Tee It Up for the Troops
Tee It Up for the Troops is a national non-profit organization that engages and inspires communities across the USA to organize golf events to honor and support the military men and women who have served and sacrificed so much for our freedoms. Through these events, Tee It Up for the Troops has become a fundraising engine for local and national veterans service organizations who deliver critically needed services to our military families.
Since being established in 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted over 325 events in more than 30 states and has donated over $7 million to more than 300 various organizations serving veterans across the country. Tee It Up for the Troops has also reunited nearly 250 combat altered veterans who were separated due to battlefield injuries, thus assisting with their transition back into their communities.
Tee It Up for the Troops is proud to support many wonderful veteran service organizations throughout the United States including those that provide service dogs for veterans.
The influence service dogs have in the daily life of veterans cannot be overstated as was shared recently by one Trauma Assistance Dog recipient:
“Many combat veterans don’t come home the same person they were when they left here to fight for our country. We leave part of ourselves in the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan. My dog has given me a lot of my life back. We are always together and are best friends. I have been able to enjoy going out with my family and not have to worry about anything else around. [My dog] has given me hope that I thought was lost.”
“We are so proud to be associated with Tee It Up for the Troops, and look forward to introducing our customer base to your organization. We have heard a lot of positive feedback from our sales associates and other employees about our support for Tee It Up for the Troops as we enter the opening weekend of our Veterans Sale event.”
-Margaret Eggenberger, Content Manager – Marketing at Slumberland Furniture
“On behalf of the board of directors of Tee It Up for the Troops, please accept my heartfelt gratitude for choosing our organization as Slumberland’s charitable partner during your Veterans Day sales event. The financial donation and exposure for Tee It Up for the Troops is invaluable to our efforts to help combat-altered veterans. The most authentic brands are ones that are faithful to something other than just profits. They have a higher purpose and understand the positive impact they can have on a community. That’s Slumberland. Your company’s people, core values, integrity and compassion define you as company that practices what it preaches.”
-Patrick Klinger, Tee It Up for the Troops Board Director
Military service members, Veterans and their families are supported by countless organizations who acknowledge their sacrifices. Tee It Up for the Troops is honored to be featured in the Fisher House Patriot magazine as a top-tier veteran service organization! Click here to read the article from The Patriot magazine!
Tee It Up for the Troops not only supports Fisher House Foundation, we also support Fisher Houses at the local level by providing golf carts to be used by those staying at the homes. The golf carts have made a difference to patients and families who may have difficulty walking, or seek protection from inclement weather. The notes we get from the Fisher House managers mean so much knowing we are helping to make these families comfortable!
We are very excited to see that the latest Tee It Up for the Troops golf cart donation has made its way to the new Ft Bragg Fisher House!
Lorie Southerland, Manager of the Ft. Bragg Fisher House, said “This will make it so much easier for those guests who are here without a vehicle to get back and forth to the hospital or WTB (Warrior Transition Battalion).”
Thank you to the thousands of donors who have stepped up to the tee to make donations like this one possible. Together, we are making a difference!
A donation of just over $20,000 to the Salute Military Golf Association (SMAG) that was used to purchase a para-golfer has been getting a lot of use by veteran amputees who want to learn the game of golf. In the picture below a new participant, Aubrey Hand, United States Air Force, is receiving instruction from SMGA founder, Jim Estes.
Hand lost his leg below the knee as a result of an IED, 2012 in Afghanistan. While we love that Aubrey has been able to work on his golf game using the para-golfer, we were very excited to learn that his need for the paragolfer will be coming to an end soon as he will soon be golfing with his new prosthetic!
Thank you to the thousands of donors who have stepped up to the tee at Tee It Up for the Troops events across the nation. It is only with your support that donations like this one are made possible. Together, we are making a difference!
Minnesota Vikings punter Jeff Locke joined 15 others and played a combined total of 190 hours of golf in the Longest Day of Golf for the Troops but the lasting memories won’t be a perfect shot or the numbers on the scorecards for the 1300-hole outing.
“The best part of the day for me was being able to switch groups and interact with the veterans,” Locke said. “It was so much fun playing with them and hearing their stories of what “Tee It Up for the Troops” has done for them coming back from overseas or from their service.”
A total of 16 golfers, veterans and veteran supporters, teed off just before 6:45 a.m. and raised more than $12,000 (and counting) for Tee It Up for the Troops!
Participants and volunteers were treated to a wonderful lunch on the go courtesy of participant, Marc Spiros and HoneyBaked Ham. The local HoneyBaked Ham stores in the Minneapolis / St Paul area wanted to give back to the communities by supporting and getting involved in the communities in which they work. We are delighted that they chose Tee it up for the Troops to honor those who have provided the freedom we all enjoy.
Tee It Up for the Troops is a cause near and dear to many including Locke, whose father, Bob, was an Air Force pilot for 20-plus years. Jeff Locke was born at a military hospital in Frankfurt, Germany, and has other military ties in his family.
“Jeff (and so many others) understands the service and sacrifice that goes into the military lifestyle,” said Tim Wegscheid, the president of Tee It Up for the Troops. “He’s a great guy and has a big heart for serving our military families,” he added.
“He doesn’t do it for the fame,” SGT Ngo said. “He does it because he knows that if it wasn’t for the men and women that serve this country, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we have.”
The Tee It Up for the Troops events at SeaCliff Country Club (Huntington Beach, CA), Vista Valley Country Club (Vista, CA) and Alta Vista Country Club (Placentia, CA) have joined forces to support the Warrior Foundation~Freedom Station located in San Diego, CA. The Warrior Foundation~Freedom Station assists four main groups of warriors: the seriously injured just returning home from war; those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury; those undergoing physical or occupational therapy, and warriors who have been medically retired and remain in our community. To serve this last group in particular, they pioneered a new approach and opened Freedom Station – a unique recovery transition center and housing facility that provides injured warriors with the acclimation time, guidance and resources to successfully make the transition from military service to civilian life.
In particular, the donation of $29,150 from the Alta Valley Country Club event was used to support Freedom Station and the Stand Tall: Modified Combat Boots for Warriors program. As mentioned above, Freedom Station is a unique recovery transition center and housing facility that provides injured warriors with the acclimation time, guidance and resources to successfully make the transition from military service to civilian life.
One of Warrior Foundation’s main program areas is quality-of-life items. They provide supplies to injured warriors that improve quality of life and provide added comfort during recovery. One of the most in-demand items they provide are modified combat boots with special zippers that can accommodate either prosthetic limbs or Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis (IDEO™) braces. When warriors are recovering from battle injuries, nothing boosts morale like being able to stay in uniform. The uniform is deeply intertwined with the pride, privilege and soul of a warrior. It allows them to keep their military bearing. For amputees, new prosthetic legs and feet do not fit properly into combat boots, forcing them to wear other shoes that do not conform.
In what has become one of their most successful programs to date, Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station devised a way to modify combat boots to accommodate prosthetic limbs and IDEO braces. They custom-measure warriors, purchase boots, and then install zippers down the back of the boots so they can easily accommodate prostheses. This allows warriors to maintain an integral part of their identities by staying in uniform.