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!

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.

Event SPOTLIGHT: SeaCliff Tee It Up for the Troops and Serve It Up for the Troops Fundraising Events Break All Records!

The red carpet rolled out for all of the guests.


Located in Huntington Beach, California, the SeaCliff Tee It Up and Serve It Up for the Troops events are the most successful fundraising events held to date for Tee It Up for the Troops. Since 2011, SeaCliff Tee It Up for the Troops has raised more than $1.5 million in support of all those who serve(d) in the United States Armed Forces.

Why are the events held at SeaCliff Country Club so successful? Well, like all great events, the people involved make the difference…but SeaCliff has another secret to share.  In addition to hitting golf balls in support of military troops and their families, they hit and serve up tennis balls in gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by our bravest. SeaCliff’s Serve It Up for the Troops is the first and, so far, only tennis tournament raising funds for Tee It Up for the Troops nationally. The 2018 tennis tournament aced over $123,000!

Tennis Tournament

The first Serve It Up for the Troops tournament at SeaCliff was held in 2013 with about 25 players and $5,000 being raised. Last year, 138 players participated in the two-day mixed doubles tournament with a 20-fold increase in profit, making SeaCliff’s tennis tournament one of the top fundraising events overall for Tee It Up for the Troops. Kristi Serrano, Chairperson for SeaCliff Serve It Up for the Troops, says this is the biggest tennis tournament in Huntington Beach and draws players from all over Orange County. “There are lots of people who aren’t golfers that want to participate and support our military, and this gives them another option. We also have some community members that play in both the tennis and golf events.”

Attending “Heroes” at the Tennis event.

Serve It Up for the Troops festivities included an inspirational exhibition match featuring wheelchair-bound veterans playing against high level players, a Raise It Up for the Troops party and dinner held on the main court, silent and live auction, live band and dancing. Around 300 people attended the beautiful, sit down dinner event.

Kristi knows all too well the hard work that goes into an event this size…especially when you learn one week out that the program speaker you’ve

planned on can’t make the event. “So, I called in the Marines and like true Marines, they came through and pointed me towards Derek Herrera from the Marine Raider Foundation,” Kristi explained.  Captain Derek Herrera, a Marine paralyzed from the chest down by a sniper in Afghanistan and

Purple Heart and Bronze Star for bravery recipient, became the honored guest speaker.  Kristi says people were blown away with Derek’s moving talk, wiping tears away, and wanting to donate more money. “This is why we are all here. As a former military wife with a child, I know how hard it is for our soldiers and their families to be separated by time and countries, not to mention the injuries many sustain.  I urge everyone to get involved … we can never have enough volunteers. Start a Serve It Up event in your community. After Derek spoke, I said I am ALL IN for next year’s event.”  (Read more about Derek Herrera’s story here.)

Golf Tournament

The 7th annual Tee It Up for the Troops golf tournament at SeaCliff was held on August 20, 2018 and was wildly successful with net proceeds of $175,000 and 140 golfers. The SeaCliff event committee prides itself on being the number one fundraising event for Tee It Up for the Troops in terms of proceeds and size.

Leslie Mayes, Chairperson for SeaCliff’s Tee It Up for the Troops explained what makes their event unique, “Players enjoyed pre-tournament activities after checking in with their 1-1 personal concierge who walked them through the check-in process and schedule of events. An opening observance and tribute to our nation and military, complete with ceremonial bagpipes and a T-34 aircraft flyover, kicked off the golf tournament with ABC news anchor, Phillip Palmer, serving as master of ceremonies. During the tournament, the pin flags are manned by active duty military and  long drive Pro Kyle Warren, who’s Navy father recently passed away from exposure to Agent Orange, could be called upon to hit a big one down the middle.  A Meet

Attending “Heroes” at the Golf event.

the Heroes Reception featuring cocktails and a silent auction followed golf and the day ended with a dinner, speaker Sue Pollard, National President for Gold Star Moms, and live auction.”  When asked what inspires her to Chair this tournament, Leslie added, “When you see who you help…all the wounded veterans on property and military organizations that need our help… we do it for them because they are protecting our freedoms and we need to give back to them.”

SeaCliff’s first Tee It Up for the Troops event was started by Mark Mayes, Leslie’s husband, in 2011 with the help of Retired Air Force Lieutenant General George Muellner, both SeaCliff members. Mark, President of the California Chapter for Tee It Up for the Troops, had this advice when asked why the event is so successful. “We are super fiscal with our money and no one gets a free ride. Everyone pays to play…except for our military… each warrior is sponsored. We also get our volunteers very engaged and we make it fun for them…it’s their tournament.” What keeps Mark coming back each year to help with the event? “I have several faces in my mind right now… one wounded Marine looked at me and he thanks me with tears in his eyes for helping the warriors. I’m getting chocked up just thinking about it. We do it for the warriors and it’s just very rewarding,” Mark said.

Zach Martinez stands by the American flag he raised in Huntington Beach on Memorial Day 2010.

This year’s event honored Veteran Zach Martinez, who after rallying for a permanent memorial (Patriot Point) on the bluffs of Huntington Beach with the help of SeaCliff Tee It Up for the Troops, passed away from an illness. SeaCliff Tee It Up and Serve It Up for the Troops raised money for 10 non-profit organizations this past year including larger groups such as Warrior Foundation Freedom Station and Fisher House and local non-profits like Operation Surf, Patriot Point and Junior Amateur Golf Scholars (JAGS).

The Lemonade Stand that raised $200!

The SeaCliff Country Club and its community all join to support this weekend event…even the kids! Near hole #7, you could find a lemonade stand run by 11-year old Maddie Rhoads. This was Maddie’s second year selling lemonade to the golfers and she has donated over $200 to Tee It Up for the Troops from her lemonade stand. This year, Maddie was joined by Daphne Mayes, Mark and Leslie’s five-year-old granddaughter, to help continue the family’s commitment to Tee It Up.  Thanks to Maddie’s caring heart, and the passion and hearts of all the volunteers and supporters of this event, SeaCliff’s Tee It Up and Serve It Up for the Troops to help military troops and their families is just a bit sweeter.

We are also pleased to share that as a special tribute to all that Mark and Leslie Mayes have done for Tee It Up for the Troops, they were presented with a “Patriot Award” for their years of commitment, passion and patriotism displayed in the Seacliff Tee It Up & Serve It Up for the Troops events.  Mark and Leslie, thank you for leading the way to help support Veterans and their families!

Be Inspired by all that we can accomplish by “stepping up to the tee!”

We hope you enjoy this short video are are inspired by all that we can accomplish by “stepping up to the tee” and working together on behalf of.

Since 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted more than 415 fundraising events in over 40 states. With the generous support of sponsors and volunteers, these events have allowed us to donate over $9,000,000 to more than 325 veteran service organizations that provide critically needed services to help our veterans to heal, transition, grow and thrive. Tee It Up for the Troops targets its support across these critical areas of need:

  • Treatment of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries: the hidden wounds of war
  • Suicide Awareness and Prevention: reducing veteran suicides
  • Employment: veteran unemployment rate is much higher than the national average
  • Sports and Recreation: both adaptive and rehabilitative
  • Family and Caregiver Support: strong family + strong caregiver = strong warrior
  • Housing: homelessness, plus transitional and comfort housing while receiving treatment

We also continue to strengthen veterans through our REUNION program in which we have reunited nearly 300 combat veterans who were separated due to battlefield injuries, changes in rehabilitation, or other reasons beyond their control.

In addition, we are honored to assist veterans in launching their own business through our Operation Heartfirst initiative with Anytime Fitness.


PebbleCreek Resort Community hosts their first Tee It Up for the Troops event!

(L to R): Bill Barnard, General Manager; Joe Baer, Tee It Up for the Troops Board Secretary; and Jason Whitehill, Director of Golf.

Tee It Up for the Troops is thankful to the membership and golf staff of the PebbleCreek Resort Community in Goodyear, AZ for hosting their first Tee It Up for the Troops event.

Director of Golf, Jason Whitehill had this to say about their event: “Our first ever TEE IT UP FOR THE TROOPS event at PebbleCreek Resort really turned out to be a great day. We had over 80 players this first year so it will be a great number to build on. We were also proud to have five veterans come out and join us as well. TEE IT UP FOR THE TROOPS Board Member Joe Baer also gave a very nice talk about the organization during the awards ceremony. In the end, our Club members thought it was a great way to honor and support our veterans on President’s Day.”

Board member Joe Baer said, “The first annual Pebble Creek Tee It Up for the Troops event was a well-attended and fun event. We even had an international flavor with several participants from Winnipeg and Saskatoon supporting our US Veterans. A great time was had by all!  Thank you to all the fine folks at Pebble Creek for their support!”

Tee It Up for the Troops Rochester MN event hosts two Medal of Honor Recipients

Rochester, Minnesota- The 11th annual Tee It Up for the Troops event held at the Willow Creek Golf Course in Rochester, MN was honored to host two very special guests at their event this year. Those guests of honor were Kenneth Stumpf and James McCloughan, both of whom are Medal of Honor recipients!

The Medal of Honor is the nations highest medal awarded to a member of the armed forces for their extreme valor in combat.  This medal can only be awarded by the President of the United States. The very first medal of honor was given out in 1861 to a Sailor named, Jacob Parrot, for his role in the American civil war for his role in the Great locomotive chase.

Kenneth Stumpf, United States Army, was awarded the medal of honor for his valiant actions in Vietnam.  His platoon came under fire after approaching a village armed with a Vietnamese rifle group. He saved three men wounded in the first attack and lead his platoon’s attacks on the enemy’s bunkers. For the relentless spirit of aggressiveness, intrepidity, and ultimate concern for the lives of his men he deservingly was awarded the medal of honor.

James McCloughan, United States Army, was awarded the medal of honor this year by President Trump, for his valiant actions in Vietnam.  James was an Army medic who saved the lives of 10 men during a 2-day battle in Nui Yong Hill.  He refused an order to evacuate and instead stayed to continue lifesaving efforts.  He would receive two purple hearts for the wounds he received during that battle.

The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 3,400 recipients, of which only 72 are still here with us today. It was a great honor for all of those in attendance to have the chance to meet them, shake their hands and thank them for their great service to this country!

Tee It Up for the Troops raises money, shows appreciation for military personnel


Capt. Denver Edick, who works on Parris Island, says his boss often complains that Edick works too much — which is probably why he was selected to play in the annual Tee It Up for the Troops event held Friday at Sea Pines Country Club on Hilton Head Island. And the Marine was more than happy to follow his command’s orders.

“It was phenomenal. Sure beat being in the office,” said Edick, who’s been an active duty Marine for 11 years. “It was a beautiful day, beautiful course, great people and a great event.”

Tee It Up for the Troops hosted 60 servicemen and women from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and U.S. Naval Hospital Beaufort for a day of golf and a bit of pampering to thank them for their service and raise money to support veterans and their families across the country.

“They’re serving our country and we’re proud to give them a nice day; it’s very rewarding for us,” said Ron Taylor, a club member and one of the event’s organizers.

The local tournament was one of 60 planned across the country this year, said Jodi Baer, director of operations for the national organization.

“Since 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted over 360 golf fundraising events and donated more than $7 million to veteran service organizations,” Baer said. “Through collective efforts, including over 25,000 hours of volunteer time dedicated to our events in 2016 alone, we are providing critically needed services to assist veterans and military families successfully reintegrate into their communities.”

Click here for the rest of the story!

Pinnacle Peak Country Club made a Difference by Hosting Tee it up for the Troops Golf Tournament!

Thank you Pinnacle Peak Country Club Members for your support by hosting the 7th Annual Tee it Up for the Troops Golf Tournament on April 12th. It was an honor to have you host this event once again at PPCC!
Pinnacle Peak Country Club 5th Annual Event Flyover
Pinnacle Peak Country Club Members displayed unwavering support for this event as 130 golfers took to the links to raise money for those who have been wounded in battle and to show their appreciation for the troops. Each foursome was accompanied by a wounded patriot or active duty military service member. The event resulted in a donation in the amount of over $60,000. Pinnacle Peak Country Club has donated over $376,000 to Tee it up for the Troops over the past 7 years.
Pinnacle Peak Country Club 5th Annual EventThe military honorary ceremony was the highlight of the day. This event included a stirring tribute to the men and women of our military, past and present, complete with a Bag Pipe Call to Arms, Honor Guard honoring all service branches, Invocation, National Anthem sung by local celebrity Holly Kirsten, dove release, fireworks, and a flyover with T-34 and C-6 fighter planes that served in the Korean War.
In addition, many paused to honor and remember the amazing life of SGT First Class Brian Mancini on Hole #1 of this event. Founder of Honor House, SGT Mancini left us way to soon and will always be remembered as the true American Hero he was. Rest In Peace Soldier.
This tournament provided all attendees the opportunity to personally show their gratitude and appreciation for the bravery and sacrifice of our true American heroes, while enjoying a great time with family, friends, wounded patriots and active duty military members.

Donation made to support Veterans Resource Center at St. Cloud State University

To honor the mission of Tee It Up for the Troops, an all volunteer organizing committee teamed up with staff from the St Cloud Country Club to host their 3rd annual Tee It Up for the Troops golf benefit in August of 2016!

This event began with an inspirational opening ceremony that pays tribute to our nation, the men and women of our military, and our cherished freedoms. Following the opening ceremony golfers tee’d off for a 18-hole scramble tournament. Following the tournament, golfers and non-golfers enjoyed a cocktail reception and evening dinner program.

It is standard practice to donate 50% of Tee It Up for the Troops event proceeds to local veteran support organizations. In keeping with that tradition, this week several individuals gathered together to present a check in the amount of $14,200 to the SCSU Student Veterans Organization.

The Veterans Resource Center at St. Cloud State University provides a welcoming environment for veterans, current service members and their families. The center provides a one-stop shop for information and resources pertaining to military benefits, including referrals to outside veteran agencies, and provides an ideal space for networking and connecting with other military affiliated students on campus.

You can read more about how this specific donation with benefit the Veterans Resource Center here.

The individuals in the photo below, from left to right, are as follows: Tom Olson, General Manager of the St. Cloud Country Club; Rollie Carlson, TIUFTT Minnesota Chapter Board Member; Interim President of SCSU, Ashish Vaidya; Vice President of University Advancement, Matt Andrew; and Vice President of Student Life and Development, Wanda Overland.

Tee It Up for the Troops – Alta Vista proudly supports Warrior Foundation~Freedom Station

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.

Freedom Station Courtyard
Freedom Station Courtyard

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.Freedom Station Combat Boots for Warriors

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.