From Gary Komaniecki, Operation Hometown Gratitude organizer: Your gift from Tee It Up For the Troops could not have come at a better time. As I look at our calendar, we are booked with groups through December 3rd. The goal of Operation Hometown Gratitude, with the help of all of these groups, is to send as many care packages as possible to our deployed troops and to give them a taste of home, no matter where their hometown is. OHG has shipped over 14,000 care packages since December of 2005, and we could not do it without the help of organizations like Tee It Up For the Troops. I will conclude with a letter recently received by us from a chaplain’s assistant in Afghanistan:
Dear Students and faculty of Mayo High School:
My name is Sgt. Stephen Bonett and I am the Chaplain Assistant here at FOB Frontenac Afghanistan. I received and have been putting out all the wonderful, thoughtful and much needed items that you all sent. Thank you for all your donations, letters, pictures, support and prayers, they really mean a lot to us. On behalf of all of us here at FOB Frontenac, best wishes to you and your families and God bless you all. On a side note we currently have a Minnesota National Guard unit stationed here with us and they were very happy and proud to hear about your contributions.
Mendota Heights, MN – At the organization’s 9th annual fundraising event in Minnesota, Tee It Up For The Troops announced that they will donate a customized six-person E-Z-GO Golf Cart to each Fisher House that will be built and opened in the next three years.
Fisher Houses are beautiful homes, donated by the Fisher House Foundation to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for a combat injury, illness or disease.
The customized and street-ready golf carts will allow patients to travel from the Veterans hospital where they are receiving treatment to their local Fisher House without getting in and out of a car or van.
In 2012, Tee it up for the Troops donated an E-Z-GO golf cart to the Fisher Houses in Minneapolis and Augusta, Georgia. The organization also donated a golf cart to a medical unit in Afghanistan in 2010.
Fisher House is planning for up to five new homes to open each year through 2016.
“Fisher House continues to be blessed, not just because Tee It Up for the Troops is such a generous benefactor for many years but because they are such a terrific partner in taking care of our men and women in uniform and their families,” said Derek Donovan, Vice President for Programs at Fisher House Foundation. “Although Fisher Houses are located right on the grounds of military hospitals and VA medical centers, our guests are often patients themselves and their mobility is limited. The E-Z-GO golf carts just make life easier and are a daily reminder that organizations like Tee It Up for the Troops are there for our heroes and their families.”
“Fisher House has been a great partner of Tee It Up For The Troops for many years”, said Paul Anderson, President & CEO of Tee it up for the Troops. “Their ability to help ease the burden of finding lodging and food in a time of need for an American Hero is priceless. With the family surrounding the warrior, the healing process, and recovery can begin in a setting of comfort. We are honored to be a small part of that recovery process and hope these golf carts will be a blessing to the veterans and their families.”
Gaby Accad, Owner of Versatile Vehicles in Savage, Minnesota, has been the E-Z-GO dealer responsible for assisting in the project. A supporter of Tee it up for the Troops from the beginning, he continues to see the important value in this project. “E-Z-GO and Versatile Vehicles are proud of the relationship with Tee It Up For The Troops and believe whole-heartedly in our ability to help customize a top-of-the-line street ready golf cart that will be used to ease the burden of transportation to-and-from the hospital for our Heroes,” said Gaby Accad.
Minstar Transport, of St. Paul, has graciously donated the costs of transporting of the cart which will be delivered to the new Tennessee Fisher House in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which will open later this fall.
You are cordially invited to a cocktail party where we will saluteour service members by TIPPING our glasses in their honor at the second annual Tip it up for the Troops event. Please join us at Mendakota Country Club on Thursday September 5, 2013 from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Hot-Heavy hors d’ oeuvres will be served
Complimentary glass of wine, you keep the glass
It’s a great way to show your support to our most deserving servicemen, women and veterans. Buy a ticket or two — or four!
And… please consider donating an item to the silent auction tables. Proceeds benefit 501c3 Tee it up for the Troops. Contact Susanne Bonfe for more information 612-710-9695
Tee it up for the Troops
Twin Cities Area Private Club Challenge
Win a weekend of golf at the KOHLER Resort!!
This year we have designated August 21st – August 30th Tee it up for the Troops WEEK AND WE ARE ASKING FOR SUPPORT FROM ALL THE METRO AREA PRIVATE GOLF CLUBS.
Participation is simple. Simply make an on-line between August 21st – August 30th. Participating members from the winning club will be eligible to win. The winning name will be drawn on
Thursday night, September 5th, at our second annual TIP IT UP FOR THE TROOPS gala at the Mendakota Country club.
Last year, The Minneapolis Golf Club stepped up with over $5,000 and won the challenge. Last years winner, Mark Kowalski, said “it was a spectacular course and fabulous weekend. How could you not participate to win such a great prize And support such a great cause”.
The needs of military veterans and their families are only partially being met. It is time to step up and
show how proud we are of their courage and service. Tee it up for the Troops Week is just one way all
metro area club golfers can step forward and say thank you for our freedom. We need your help in
supporting this great cause.
The Friday closest to September 11th is the NATIONAL DAY OF GOLF. This day is our way to honor military veterans and their families. You are invited to join us by participating in any way you can. We see no greater honor than to “step up to the tee” to show our appreciation to all who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn More
On 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.