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: 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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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.

Tee It Up for the Troops now enrolled in Thrivent Financial’s Choice program!

We are pleased to inform you that Tee It Up for the Troops is now enrolled in Thrivent Choice, a platform for Thrivent members to have a financial impact on the causes and nonprofits they care about. If you or someone you know one are one of Thrivent’s more than 2.3 million members, we would certainly appreciate you choosing to direct Choice Dollars and/or your personal donations to Tee It Up for the Troops!

Together we make a difference!

Learn more about the Thrivent Choice program here.

Grant Recipient SPOTLIGHT: Warfighter Sports, a division of Disabled Sports USA.

Disabled Sports Clinic

Warfighter Sports, a division of Disabled Sports USA and a long-time partner of Tee It Up for the Troops, has provided over 12,000 wounded warriors and families with opportunities to participate in more than 50 different sports since 2003 free of charge.

#SkiSpec, which is hosted by Disabled Sports USA at the Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, Colorado is one of the nation’s largest winter sports festivals for people with disabilities. The programs offered during this week-long event include learn to ski and snowboard lessons, a week-long race camp, nordic skiing, sled hockey and more. This year more than 100 wounded military veterans, service members, family and military medical staff from the U.S. and Great Britain participated!
Tee It Up for the Troops President, Tim Wegscheid, had this to say about #SkiSpec 2018:
“It was a great honor to spend time this week with many severely wounded combat veterans as they received ski instruction at #SkiSpec. It is so inspiring to watch these American heroes who have suffered amputations, paralysis, blindness, and many other injuries in service to our country get out on the slopes and “back in the game!” The smiles and camaraderie that surround this event is reaffirming that our support for Warfighter Sports, a program of Disabled Sports USA, is money very well donated!”

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!