Tee It Up for the Troops and The Warrior’s Journey are Excited About a New Continuum of Care Program

Tee It Up for the Troops and The Warrior’s Journey are excited about a new Continuum of Care Program. This new collaboration will provide continuing services and programs to Tee It Up for the Troops’ REUNION warriors and their families. 

REUNION is a multi-day event where combat veterans and their comrades discuss their days of service, injuries, and post-military struggles in a supportive environment surrounded by support networks and partner resource organizations. The physical and psychological injuries sustained during combat can affect multiple aspects of a veteran’s transition from the military to civilian life. The invisible wounds often lead to isolation, addiction, and suicide. REUNION connects and reunites combat veterans who use their common bonds to work through post-military challenges.

One of our vital partner resource organizations that has been active in providing group learning and discussion sessions and other support at REUNION is The Warrior’s Journey. The Warrior’s Journey provides warrior-to-warrior intervention and preventative resources to care for the invisible wounds of war and helps equip veterans with the tools they need to tackle the problems life throws at them.

Oftentimes, the REUNION event opens emotional doors that have not been opened for quite some time – some good and some bad – and further processing and support are needed when veterans return home. The REUNION experience has now come full circle with opportunities for customized after-care provided to warriors and their families by The Warrior’s Journey. That’s why Tee It Up for the Troops and The Warrior’s Journey are excited about a new continuum of care program.  

Kevin Weaver, President/CEO and Co-Founder of The Warrior’s Journey speaks to a group of REUNION warriors.
Kevin Weaver, President/CEO and Co-Founder of The Warrior’s Journey speaks to a group of REUNION warriors.

 

“Serving in the military comes with unique challenges that most people do not fully understand,” said Kevin Weaver, President/CEO and Co-Founder of The Warrior’s Journey. “The invisible wounds that veterans carry are a testament to the sacrifices they made. The Warrior’s Journey, along with Tee It Up for the Troops, wanted to make sure there is support that follows the veteran and family after they attend the REUNION event.” Kevin is a US Air Force veteran. He served in the USAF Security Forces and the Office of Special Investigations from 1983-1987. 

Tee It Up for the Troops and The Warrior’s Journey are excited to continue ongoing services and programs to assist our warriors on their journey. Some of the challenges faced include PTS, financial difficulty, family brokenness, addiction, suicide, loss, isolation, and more.  Staff from The Warriors Journey coordinate reach-out messaging, intake, connection to resources, case management, and follow-up. The Warrior’s Journey has built a team of veterans, called “warrior connectors,” to provide real-time crisis intervention. They respond within 24 hours (always warrior-to-warrior and 100% confidential) to provide community support, resources, and referrals. The individualized approach to intervention is focused on navigating the available help and resources provided by over 70 partner organizations. 

Through this new continuum of care program, veterans now have a new “Battle Buddy,” and a personal advocate through The Warrior’s Journey organization, who can help them navigate many post-military issues and offer support whenever they need it. No warrior should have to navigate alone. Together we are helping veterans heal and strengthening families.

On behalf of our Tee It Up for the Troops warriors and families, we want to thank The Warrior’s Journey for all they are doing for the men and women who served our country!  We are so thankful for this expanded partnership that is helping warriors and families live in wholeness and navigate the unique issues of military life!

Tee It Up for the Troops and Veteran-Owned Legendary Golf Apparel Partnership

Tee It Up for the Troops and veteran-owned Legendary Golf Apparel partnership will promote and support each other’s objectives through the sale of custom merchandise and support at golf events.

Legendary Golf Apparel is veteran-owned, family-operated, and passionate about the sport of golf, helping veterans, and growing the game they love. Through this new partnership, Legendary Golf Apparel is making custom Tee It Up for the Troops branded merchandise which is available online or for sale at many of our charity events. In addition, Legendary Golf Apparel has selected Tee It Up for the Troops as one of its non-profit partners and will donate a portion of its profits to Tee It Up for the Troops.

Brock Ruiz, CEO and Founder, of Legendary Golf Apparel and Army veteran, said, The life lessons the military has taught me have changed my life forever. Honor, integrity, selfless service, and respect are what I will always represent. I’ve always had a passion for golf, and I knew I could somehow use that to help serve. That’s why we founded Legendary Golf Apparel. We donate a portion of all proceeds to Tee It Up for the Troops to help all the veterans we can.”

Brock was an Army Infantryman. He served eight years and was stationed at Fort Hood, TX. In his time in the military, he was deployed two times to Afghanistan. During his second deployment, he was wounded in action ending his military career. During deployment, he witnessed a lot of brothers who did not make it out. He knew when he left the military, he wanted to still help serve our great nation in any possible way. That’s why Brock founded Legendary Golf Apparel in 2022.

Legendary Golf Apparel is based in Minnesota and besides being veteran-owned, the company is family-operated, which sets them apart from other golf brands. Brock’s cousin, Brooks Hitchcock, is the CMO and Co-Founder. The two cousins have been working side by side pursuing the American dream of starting a business while giving back to those who fought and served for our freedom.

Brock Ruiz, Army veteran and CEO (left) and Brooks Hitchcock CMO (right), cousins and founders of Legendary Golf Apparel.
Brock Ruiz, Army veteran and CEO (left), and Brooks Hitchcock CMO (right), cousins and founders of Legendary Golf Apparel.

 

“Our nation’s veterans have sacrificed greatly in service to our country, and our organization takes the responsibility of supporting them very seriously,” said Tim Wegscheid, President and Executive Director of Tee It Up for the Troops. “This new partnership with Legendary Golf Apparel not only supports a disabled veteran-owned business but also provides high-quality custom-branded golf apparel for our tournament participants. This collaboration results in a double win.”

More and more golfers are searching for more fashion-forward apparel for the course and they’re in luck with Legendary Golf Apparel. Their apparel is designed to make golf fun, stylish, and unique while providing a comfortable and lightweight fit.

Whether you’re looking for patriotic polos, hats, or pullovers at an affordable price, the Tee It Up for the Troops and veteran-owned Legendary Golf Apparel partnership has you covered. Your purchase not only helps this veteran-owned business, but it also helps veterans across the country connect with needed services through Tee It Up for the Troops. Shop today and show your appreciation for American heroes.

SHOP NOW HERE!

 

 

IMPERIAL VETERAN GIVE BACK HAT – THE NICK BRADLEY

This Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat, in partnership with Tee It Up for the Troops, is named for U.S. Veteran Nick Bradley.  

Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Nicholas B. Bradley, USAF, served in the United States Air Force for 8 years on active duty. SSgt. Bradley would serve three combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). 

SSgt. Bradley deployed to Balad AB, Iraq, where he served with the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces and flew more than 200 Surveillance Missions for troops outside the wire. He returned to the U.S. and completed several training courses over the next few years.  

In April 2008, he deployed to Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan, where he served on a Personal Security Detail for five General Officers. Staff Sergeant Bradley conducted numerous Protective Missions outside the wire, including Motorcade Operations, Fly Away Missions, and Advance Team Missions. On August 3, 2008, while on a Protective Services Mission, his vehicle was struck by 20 pounds of anti-tank mine IED. Bradley sustained multiple injuries from the blast including every bone in his face and right arm being broken, partial amputations on both hands, and fractured right hip, knee, and foot. 

Staff Sergeant Nick Bradley in Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant Nick Bradley in Afghanistan.

 

Staff Sergeant Bradley has had 22 surgeries and continues to attend occupational and physical therapy. He was medically retired from active duty on May 29, 2009. Staff Sergeant Bradley has been awarded numerous honors, including Airman of the Year and the Purple Heart. He graduated from the University of North Texas with two Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice. 

Staff Sgt. Nick Bradley received both the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Medal from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D. C. in 2008.
Staff Sgt. Nick Bradley received both the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Medal from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D. C. in 2008.

 

More About the Nick Bradley Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat 

  • Performance polyester fabric
  • 6 Panel structured mid-crown profile
  • Woven rope along the base of front panels
  • Adjustable plastic snap closure

Explore the Give Back Hat Collection and say “thank you” to a veteran while sporting a hero’s hat. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit Tee It Up for the Troops. There were 12 Tee It Up for the Troops combat veterans selected for this project who designed an Imperial golf hat in honor of their service. You can browse the collection, read these hero stories, and see their hat styles here: 

Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection 

 

IMPERIAL VETERAN GIVE BACK HAT – THE JEN TREGARTHEN

This Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat, in partnership with Tee It Up for the Troops, is named for U.S. Veteran Jen Tregarthen.

Specialist Tregarthen enlisted in the Army from 2000-2004 as a Mental Health Counselor. Her first duty station was at Camp Casey in Korea, where she delivered support to the 2nd Infantry Division from 2001-2002. Her primary responsibility was to assist with the management and treatment of inpatient and outpatient mental health. It is here that she met her future husband, Mark. In 2003 she and Mark married and were deployed to Iraq.

Spec. Tregarthen served the 4th Infantry Division at Camp Packhorse in Tikrit where she offered debrief support for combat units and care for soldiers with post-traumatic stress.  In August of 2003, while at Camp Ironhorse, housed at one of Saddam Hussein’s Tikrit Palaces, she was involved in an attack on the compound and shot. Due to her injuries, she was airlifted to a nearby CASH and then to Germany. A few months later, she returned to complete her tour with the 4th FSB. Specialist Tregarthen was awarded the prestigious Purple Heart. 

Veteran Jen Tregarthen stands with a fellow veteran during a Tee It Up for the Troops opening ceremony.

 

More About the Jen Tregarthen Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat 

The Jen Tregarthen is an original small-fit performance cap from the Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat Collection.

This Hero’s Hat features:

  • Performance Polyester Fabric
  • Lightweight, Breathable, and Moisture Wicking
  • Small Fit Cap, Fits Sizes 6 3/4 – 7 1/8
  • Micro-Velcro Elastic Loop Closure with Garage Tuck- In

Explore the Give Back Hat Collection and say “thank you” to a veteran while sporting a hero’s hat. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit Tee It Up for the Troops. There were 12 Tee It Up for the Troops combat veterans selected for this project who designed an Imperial golf hat in honor of their service. You can browse the collection, read these hero stories, and see their hat styles here: 

Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congressional Medal of Honor Society Partnership

Tee It Up for the Troops is proud of a deepening partnership with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and its Foundation. Our partnership allows us to make an impact across all sectors, military and civilian, ultimately helping bring greater awareness to the issues of active duty and veteran suicide.

Recently, Tee It Up for the Troops was recognized as a core partner of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and its Foundation. What a tremendous honor! The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is perhaps the most exclusive military organization in our country so it’s a profound tribute to partner with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.  

About The Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The Recipient must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Its small membership knows no boundaries of ethnicity, social, or economic levels.

Photo of US Medal of Honor recipient John Denny, 1900.
Photo of US Medal of Honor Recipient John Denny, 1900.

 

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Since its origins in 1891, only 3,517  people have been awarded the medal, and there is currently only 63 living Medal of Honor Recipients.

About The Congressional Medal of Honor Society 

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is perhaps the most exclusive organization in our country so it’s an honor to partner with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.  Members range in age from 31 to 97 and live across our country. No amount of money, power, or influence can buy one’s rite of passage into this exclusive circle, and unlike almost any other organization, this group’s members hope that there will be no more inductees.

The Society’s membership is comprised of those who wear the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military award for valor. Through the Society’s Outreach, Education, and History initiatives, the Medal of Honor Recipients continue their service across the nation.

Additionally, every year, the Society conducts a nationwide search to select five United States citizens and one organization to receive the Citizen Honors Awards to recognize that ordinary people can do extraordinary things– whether they happen in a single instance of bravery or through continued service to others.  The finalists are selected by the Recipients themselves.  They believe ordinary people can do extraordinary things – whether it’s a single act of bravery or community service.

Medal of Honor Recipients

Today, Medal of Honor Recipients are meeting in classrooms and boardrooms with veterans and neighbors, to uphold American values of courage, sacrifice, commitment, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism. They are sharing their experiences of valor and resilience to inspire the next generation of heroes: people doing extraordinary things every day in our hometowns. They are honoring and preserving the lessons and legacies of those who have gone before them.

Medal of Honor recipients being honored at a Tee It Up for the Troops golf event.
Medal of Honor Recipients being honored at a Tee It Up for the Troops golf event.

 

A Partnership To Help Our Nation’s Veterans

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society relies solely on private philanthropy – gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations – and receives no government funding. Tee It Up for the Troops was honored to present a grant to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society in 2023 to help them address veterans’ wellness and resiliency.  What an honor to partner with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

“Tee It Up for the Troops has a superb reputation of philanthropy and of helping so many veteran and military nonprofits, especially in this time of uncertainty and competing resources,” explained retired Army Lt. Col. John Falkenbury, Executive Director, for the Society, “Many Medal of Honor Recipients have fond memories of taking part in previous events and are now excited to team up with Tee It Up for the Troops.  Two great organizations working to help our fellow veterans and first responders. – it does not get any better”

Veterans of all wars and combat face challenges. However, the more than two million service members in the global war on terrorism waged primarily in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, experience significant and unique challenges resulting from their multiple, frequent deployments.

An Honor to Partner with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

“We are honored and grateful to partner with one of the most prestigious organizations in the United States,” says Tim Wegscheid, President & Executive Director of Tee It Up for the Troops. “The Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Tee It Up for the Troops share a strong commitment to our nation’s veterans. We look forward to a deepening relationship as both our organizations look for the best ways to support service members, veterans, and their families when they are struggling with invisible wounds of war.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat Is Named for U.S Veteran Frank Armenta

This Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat, in partnership with Tee It Up for the Troops, is named for U.S. Veteran Frank Armenta. Frank served 27 years on active duty. During that time, he had seven  Combat tours which included Bosnia, Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan, and three tours in Iraq. Frank is the recipient of two Purple Hearts which he received after being hit by a sniper in Fallujah, Iraq in July 2003 and second after being hit by an IED in Jalalabad, Afghanistan in August 2007. Frank is also the recipient of two Bronze Stars. He received many other awards during his career including eight Army Achievement Medals, nine Army Commendation Medals, seven Meritorious Service Medals, and one Legion of Merit.

U.S. Army Medic Frank Armenta
U.S. Army Medic Frank Armenta

 

Frank Armenta is a lifelong member of the prestigious Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. His last and most fulfilling assignment before retirement was as 1SG of the Warrior Transition Unit assisting wounded warriors as they transitioned out of the Army. Since retiring, Frank has spent countless hours helping other veterans through non-profit organizations like Tee It Up for the Troops and Combat Veterans to Careers.

Check out this video of Frank teeing it up on the course with his namesake golf hat HERE!

Video of U.S. Veteran Frank Armenta sporting his hat on the course

 

More About the Frank Armenta Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat 

The Frank Armenta is an X210R from the Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat Collection. This Alter Ego Patterned Performance Cap is named for U.S. veteran Frank Armenta.

This Hero’s Hat features:

  • Performance polyester fabric with a sublimated pattern
  • Lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking
  • Unstructured low-sweep profile
  • Micro hook & loop elastic loop closure with garage tuck-in
  • Repeating patterns will not always be the same from cap to cap

Explore the Give Back Hat Collection and say “thank you” to a veteran while sporting a hero’s hat. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit Tee It Up for the Troops. There were 12 Tee It Up for the Troops combat veterans selected for this project who designed an Imperial golf hat in honor of their service. You can browse the collection, read these hero stories, and see their hat styles here: 

Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imperial Veteran Give Back Hat Collection

The "Moondog & Mommadore" hat, part of the Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection.

Imperial, the premier headwear brand in the golf industry, has launched a special Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection, in partnership with Tee It Up for the Troops.

Each unique style in the  Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection was hand-selected by a United States combat veteran connected to Tee It Up for the Troops and embroidered with their name, nickname, or call sign.

The Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection. Each style represents a combat veteran's story.
The Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection. Each style represents a combat veteran’s story.

 

Explore the Give Back Hat Collection and say “thank you” to a veteran while sporting a hero’s hat. A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit Tee It Up for the Troops. There were 12 Tee It Up for the Troops combat veterans selected for this project who designed an Imperial golf hat in honor of their service. You can browse the collection, read these hero stories, and see their hat styles here: 

Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection 

The Moondog & Mommadore sun protection hat is named for U.S. veterans Kathryn and Derek Donovan. We will bring you all of these amazing warrior stories and the hats they created in the upcoming months.  Today, we start with the dynamic husband and wife team of Navy Captain Kathryn Donovan and Retired United States Marine Corps COL, Derek Donovan who designed a unique sun protection hat jointly. Kathryn and Derek named their hat the “Moondog & Mommadore,” meaningful nicknames for both of them.

The Moondog & Mommadore sun protection hat.
The Moondog & Mommadore sun protection hat.

 

Retired United States Navy Captain Kathryn Donovan is a 1987 graduate of the US Naval Academy with a distinguished 30-year career as an officer in the Civil Engineer Corps.  Her extensive combat operational experience includes battalion command in Iraq and regimental command in Afghanistan.  She also served as a White House Fellow at the Department of Health & Human Services as well as the Chief of Staff for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command.

Retired United States Marine Corps COL, Derek Donovan, served 27 years and was a UH-1N (Huey) helicopter pilot by training with more than 3500 flight hours and a considerable deployment schedule.  He commanded the Marine Corps Air Facility at Quantico and was the Aide de Camp to the Secretary of the Navy.  His last assignment was with the President’s Commission for the Care of America’s Returning Wounded Warriors.  After the Corps, he spent eight years as Vice President at Fisher House Foundation.  

Retired United States Marine Corps COL, Derek Donovan and Retired United States Navy Captain, Kathryn Donovan.
Retired United States Marine Corps COL, Derek Donovan and Retired United States Navy Captain, Kathryn Donovan.

 

Derek and Kathryn are married and reside in Virginia. Together they have a daughter who is a 1st Class Petty Officer in the Navy serving as a Seabee builder and a son who works for the railroad and is a Navy and Army Veteran.  The Donovan’s immediate family (parents, siblings, and children) have over 115 years of combined service in uniform.   

Browse the Imperial Veterans Give Back Hat Collection to see all the styles and read about all of the amazing warriors featured! A portion of the proceeds from all sales will benefit Tee It Up for the Troops!

Thank you Imperial for supporting our veterans!

Thank you Imperial for partnering with Tee It Up for the Troops and supporting our veterans! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honor America’s Veterans and Military Families

Honor America's Veterans and Military Families.

Give a Gift to Thank Veterans and Honor America’s Veterans and Military Families

November is a perfect month to honor America’s veterans and military families and thank those who served our nation in uniform. November 11 is Veterans Day, a day when we honor and give thanks to those who have served our country in war or peace. November is also Veterans and Military Family Appreciation Month, which is a great opportunity to recognize the sacrifices and contributions military families make that many times go unnoticed.

Honor America's Veterans and Military Families.

As we commemorate our veterans and their families, we honor the individuals who have served our country for generations — those who served out of honor, duty, and love for their country, and some who made the ultimate sacrifice.

If you would like to make a donation in honor of America’s veterans and military families, click HERE FOR EASY WAYS TO DONATE.

Give the Gift of Reuniting Veterans

What could be better than interacting with some of America’s combat veterans while helping them to heal and get back on course? What if we throw in playing golf on signature courses designed by three of golf’s greatest legends: Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, and Arnold Palmer?

Tee It Up for the Troops relies on corporate sponsors and donors to assist us in reuniting combat veterans who were separated due to battlefield situations. The game of golf serves as the backdrop for our signature REUNION event, January 10-14, 2024, at Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Florida.

We have developed multiple sponsorship options for differing budgets and commitment levels to help you honor America’s veterans and military families You can also contact us to see if we can create a specialized sponsorship opportunity for you!

Please click HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT REUNION SPONSORSHIP.

 

What’s Better Than a Hole-In-One? A Hole-In-One By Four!

Hole-in-ones at the Springhaven Event! Pictured left to right are: Tim Wegscheid, President & Executive Director, Tee It Up for the Troops, Ben Debski, Head Golf Professional, Tom Carroll, Johnny Carpineta, and TJ Diagne, General Manager, Springhaven Club.

Golf’s Holy Grail

The excitement of the pursuit of golf’s holy grail is the HOLE-IN-ONE. The VERY RARE hole-in-one – statistics say that the odds of two golfers playing the same course on the same day and both making holes-in-one is 17 million to 1. 

Recently, our charity golf organization, which has been “teeing it up for veterans” for almost 20 years, defied those odds. For the first time ever, two holes-in-one were achieved on the same day at the Springhaven Club in Pennsylvania. This incredible feat was repeated a few weeks later at the Mt. Hawley Club in Illinois with two more golfers making holes-in-one!

But wait, this story gets better! Two of the players who aced the hole were military veterans and one of them WON A CAR!!

Mt. Hawley Club Event 

Vietnam Veteran Joe Parmenter, 76, was participating in the Tee It Up for the Troops Peoria, Illinois event that benefits local veterans. Joe stepped up to the gold tees on hole number 9, his last hole for the day, and used a five wood and shot a hole-in-one at 168 yards. 

“I have been playing golf since I was eleven years old and this was my first hole-in-one,” exclaimed Joe. “I knew that I had hit a good shot but did not realize it went into the hole. The lady who was monitoring the tee box and my playing partners started yelling, ‘It went in the hole. You got a hole-in-one!’,” Joe said. Joe’s ace won him $25,000 towards the purchase of a new car. “We have purchased our new car and are waiting for it to arrive,” added Joe.

Vietnam Veteran Joe Parmenter's hole-in-one at the Mt. Hawley Club event in Illinois won him a car!
Vietnam Veteran Joe Parmenter’s hole-in-one at the Mt. Hawley Club Event in Illinois won him a car!

 

Joe still gets on the course about one to two times a week, however, because of health issues this was only his sixth time playing this year. 

With 21 years of service in the United States Marine Corps, Joe achieved the rank of Senior Master Sergeant and retired in 2001. “I think the Tee It Up for the Troops event is a wonderful way for veterans to get together, meet other veterans, share stories, and have fun. It’s a very well-organized and run organization,” Joe said.

Participant Britt Bothast also made a hole-in-one at the Peoria charity event on hole number 17, 175 yards, using his 7 iron. This was the second year Britt had participated in the event and his second ace.

Springhaven Club Event

790 miles to the east at the inaugural Tee It Up for the Troops Springhaven Club event in Pennsylvania, Johnny Carpineta, 82, who served in the US Army from 1964-1968, was playing.  Jonnie’s ace came on No. 16 using a 9-iron with a distance of 120 yards. This was Johnnie’s fourth hole-in-one.

Retired Army nurse Donna Woody, one of Johnny’s playing partners that day, had just stepped up to the tee and hit a really good shot. She said to Johnny, “See if you can beat that!” 

“I stepped up to the tee, really wasn’t thinking of too much other than what a great day this was, and swung away,” Johnny said.  “After we figured out my shot ended up in the cup, I thought… well every squirrel gets a nut sometimes.”

Johnny Carpineta, US Army veteran, displaying his hole-in-one flag with Springhaven Club leaders.
Johnny Carpineta, US Army veteran, displaying his hole-in-one flag with Springhaven Club Event leaders.

 

At age 64 Johnny obtained his PGA card and he plays in many military charity events.

“We had 14 members of the PGA Hope Program at the Tee It Up for the Troops event,” said Johnny.  PGA HOPE introduces golf to active-duty military and military veterans to enhance their physical, social, mental, and emotional well-being. “They were raving about the event.  There were great gifts including a beautiful golf hat. It was just a fantastic day where these service men and women could forget all their pain, forget about who they lost and just have a good time,” Johnny said.

Springhaven Club member, Tom Carroll, was the second golfer who made a hole-in-one at this charity event. Tom made his crowning achievement on the 13th hole at 170 yards.

Holes-in-one at the Springhaven Event! Pictured left to right are: Tim Wegscheid, President & Executive Director, Tee It Up for the Troops, Ben Debski, Head Golf Professional, Tom Carroll, Johnny Carpineta, and TJ Diagne, General Manager, Springhaven Club.
Holes-in-one at the Springhaven Event! Pictured left to right are: Tim Wegscheid, President & Executive Director, Tee It Up for the Troops, Ben Debski, Head Golf Professional, Tom Carroll, Johnny Carpineta, and TJ Diagne, General Manager, Springhaven Club.

Congratulations to All 

A hole-in-one is a miraculous feat. Congratulations to all these patriotic golfers for their great accomplishments! Raising funds to help wounded warriors heal and have hope is an incredible feat and achievement too! Thank you to all those involved in the Springhaven Club event and the Mt. Hawley Club event for your dedication and support of veterans!

 

The Nurses Who Served in the Vietnam War

They were called “Angels from Heaven.” They were typical all-American gals who were ready to take on the world in service to their country during the Vietnam War. They were not drafted. They volunteered. They were the nurses who served in the Vietnam War.

Tee It Up for the Troops paid tribute to a group of nurses who served during the Vietnam War at the 2023 Tee It Up for the Troops Event at Mendakota Country Club. In attendance, honored and pictured above left to right were: Mary Lu Ostergern- Brunner, Army Nurse Corps, 71st Evacuation Hospital, Pleiku, 1968-1969; Pam Barrows, Army Nurse Corps, 71st Evacuation Hospital, Pleiku, 1966-1967; Mary Breed, Army Nurse Corps, 95th Evacuation Hospital, Da Nang, 18th Surgical Hospital, Quang Tri, 1970-1971; Kay Bauer, Navy Nurse Corps, Vietnamese Provincial Hospital, Rach Gia, 1966-1967; Jeanne Mahaffey, Navy Nurse Corps, USS Sanctuary, Vietnam, 1971 – 1974
Lynn Bower, Army Nurse Corps, 24th Evacuation Hospital, Long Binh, Vietnam 1971.    

Nurses Played a Vital Role in the Vietnam War 

This group of nurses played a significant role in that war zone, providing high levels of care under extremely difficult conditions. They also returned home to the same unfriendly reception male veterans famously suffered, and often with the same psychological trauma. Nearly 10,000 women served in Vietnam during the war – 7,000 were nurses. Many were just barely out of nursing school when they were sent overseas.

 

The nurses who served in the Vietnam War are among the least recognized American military veterans. Many films and TV programs about U.S. involvement in Vietnam do not depict a single American nurse. We forget that thousands of women, like this group, also played a vital role in the Vietnam War.

Vietnam Nurses Honored

Members of the Vietnam nurses group honored initially met through a support group at the VA in Minnesota. Now they get together once a year for a potluck lunch and support.

Pam Barrows and Mary Lu Ostergern- Brunner were both in the 71st Evac Hospital at the same time in Pleiku, Vietnam, an area of heavy combat and casualties. Since Mary Lu was in the OR and Pam was in the ICU, they never met or connected while in Vietnam. Once back in Minnesota, they met through the Veteran Home where Mary Lu was a board member and Pam was an Administrator at the Veteran Home in Luverne, MN.

Pam Barrows-Army Nurse Corps

“My best friend from nursing school and I entered the service together and we were supposed to be assigned to the same unit after basic but we weren’t,” said Army nurse Pam Barrows. “We talked to those in charge and said “you promised” we would be assigned together and then they reassigned us both to Ft. Polk which had the reputation for being the armpit of the Army. Hearing that we said we might as well go to Vietnam but had no clue what we were asking for!”

Pam Barrows, Army Nurse, Pleiku, Vietnam.
Pam Barrows, Army Nurse, Pleiku, Vietnam.

 

Nurses in Vietnam did whatever was asked of them. They often worked round the clock in massive casualty situations, directing triage, assisting with emergency tracheotomies and amputations, inserting tubes to assist surgeons, and removing damaged tissue and shrapnel from wounds. Pam said they were called “Pluckers” because they plucked out shrapnel from wounded soldiers.

“Our shifts were 12 hours, 6 days a week and our incoming came by helicopter, said Pam who worked in the Surgical ICU at the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam. “It would be called a ‘PUSH’ and the wounded were triaged in the ER. Often when working day shifts, we might have to crawl to safety if under a rocket attack.”

Pam said there was a high mental stress side of military nursing. “We never knew what was happening outside of our compound. We would hear groundfire close by when working nights and during blackouts. I worried about my fiancé who was a Company Commander of a Mechanized Infantry Unit with the 4th Division on the other side of Pleiku. I worried about rats coming into our ‘hootch’ or living quarters and rocket attacks.”

Mary Breed-Army Nurse Corps

“My brother was wounded in Vietnam and my friend from church, as well as my girlfriend’s brother, were both killed in Vietnam,” said Mary Breed. “That is why I volunteered as a nurse to serve in the Army. I graduated from nursing school at the Swedish Hospital in Minneapolis in 1969 and arrived in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, on September 5, 1970.” She worked as an OR nurse at the 95th Evac Hospital in DaNang and the 18th Surgical Hospital in Quang Tri.

 

“You can never prepare for war. You do not understand a war until you are there and in it,” Mary described. “I still cry when I think of Vietnam and certain instances. Everybody that goes to war goes through PTSD because war is just not normal.”

What was not normal was Mary’s 24th birthday in Vietnam. “I was cutting a birthday cake the cook had made when we heard a radio call that Hill 950, west of Quang Tri Provence, was getting run over with mortars,” Mary recalled. “Our hospital sent two “Dust Offs” or Medevac helicopters. The fighting was intense and they could only get in with one helicopter that only evacuated one of three Americans. One soldier was later deemed missing in action and the other a POW. Back at the hospital, we awaited the chopper to return, which was tenuous because the chopper was being shot at and had to make an emergency landing at Khe Sahn. It turned out to be a good birthday because our two crews made it home safe.”

Kay Bauer-Navy Nurse Corps

Kay Bauer grew up in St. Paul with thirteen brothers and sisters. Kay was a U.S. Navy Nurse for 35 years. She was one of two women in a forward surgical team of 7 people who worked in a provincial hospital in South Vietnam in 1966. “The hospital had no running water, no electricity and we had a generator in the operating room,” said Bauer in an interview. Even the walk to work from her quarters became dangerous. At one point she witnessed a U.S. helicopter getting shot down with bullets coming perilously close. “The bullets went past, whoosh, whoosh. I will move a little bit faster here,” Kay said.

Kay likes to remember the good times like christening a boat in a nearby harbor or immunizing local children. “The other things are just too hard,” she said.

Shortly after returning home, Kay received an invitation to lunch at the White House where she was honored by President Johnson and he signed legislation allowing women to reach the ranks of General or Admiral.

Kay Bauer, Navy Nurse, being honored by President Johnson in the White House.

 

Kay retired as a Captain in the Navy Nurse Corps and still keeps in touch with the “awesome” women who served. 

Watch an interview with Kay Bauuer that was part of Veteran Day news coverage from North Metro TV in Blaine, MN.  Kay’s story begins at the .48-second mark in the segment.

Many forget that thousands of women also played a central role in the Vietnam War story. Tee It Up for the Troops was honored to recognize the Vietnam nurses and extends a huge thank you to all nurses and other females that served during the Vietnam War. God bless the Angels from Heaven!