Grand Opening ceremonies for, military veterans, Tristan and Hannah Ambrozewski’s Anytime Fitness gym in Southern Pines, NC – near Fort Bragg – took place on April 12th, 2016.

The very first beneficiaries of a partnership between Tee It Up for the Troops and Anytime Fitness’ Operation HeartFirst initiative are dedicated to helping other military veterans and their families get to a healthier place.

Asked what they would like to say to Operation HeartFirst contributors, Tristan replied, “Three things:  Thank you.  Thank you.  And thank you!”

The next Operation HeartFirst recipient(s) will be introduced at Anytime Fitness’ conference in Lake Placid in August of 2016. This opportunity is for the Columbus, GA area near Fort Benning. Click here for information about the 2nd Operation Heartfirst opportunity. Applications are due by May 1st!

Anytime Fitness® partners with Tee It Up for the Troops® to assist veterans.

Operation HeartFirst™ will help military vets own and operate their own franchised gyms.

Hastings, Minn. – For the 2nd year in a row, Anytime Fitness is partnering with Tee It Up for the Troops, a national non-profit organization, in an effort to help military veterans open their own gyms and provide additional employment opportunities for fellow veterans.  Dubbed “Operation HeartFirst,” Tee It Up For the Troops will offer a $125,000 grant and a $125,000 loan to a select number of honorably discharged veterans for the purpose of assisting with initial start-up capital to be used for the development of an Anytime Fitness franchise.  Anytime Fitness’ HeartFirst Charitable Foundation™ will provide a grant to Tee It Up for the Troops, which will then offer this opportunity to approved veterans, National Guard members, or reservists, as well as oversee the selection process and management of logistics.

“Operation HeartFirst is our way of saying thank you to all of the fine service men and women who’ve made tremendous sacrifices for our country,” said Dave Mortensen, President of Anytime Fitness, LLC. “Currently, about 10% of our franchisees are military veterans.  We’d like to see that number grow even higher.  Veterans are some of our best and most successful club operators.”


Tee It Up for the Troops will accept online applications from April 1 – May 1, 2016, via  Among other key criteria, interested veterans must have “a passion for fitness and community engagement.”

“We are looking for candidates who are eager to help others lead healthier lifestyles and who continue to serve and support the U.S. military and its veterans,” said Tim Wegscheid, President of Tee It Up for the Troops.  “This particular opportunity involves an Anytime Fitness gym to be located in the Columbus, GA area, near Fort Benning.  The selected franchisee will determine the precise location of the gym.”

Anytime Fitness, LLC has also agreed to waive its initial franchise fee and ongoing royalty payments related to this opportunity.  Consideration will be given by the selection committee to veterans with service-related disabilities.

“The unemployment rate for military veterans is significantly higher than the national average,” said Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness, LLC.  “That’s just not right.  Our hope is that Operation HeartFirst will not only help veterans operate their own businesses, but also provide jobs for other vets as club managers and personal trainers – for many years to come.”

The first Operation HeartFirst recipients, Tristan and Hannah Ambrozewski, expect to open their Anytime Fitness gym, near Fort Bragg in Southern Pines, NC, within the next few weeks.  The next Operation HeartFirst recipients will be selected by June 15th with a club opening date expected early next year. Anytime Fitness & Tee It Up for the Troops Partnership
Anytime Fitness Abrowzewski

Do you have a few minutes to learn more about Tee It Up for the Troops?

It all started in 2005 when a soldier who was deployed to Iraq was asked what he needed… the answer to that simple question has turned into $6,000,000 in donations from thousands of donors; and support for countless military men, women and their families through the 325+ veteran service organizations that have received financial assistance from Tee It Up for the Troops.

After listening to our story we hope you will consider supporting Tee It Up for the Troops as the needs of our military men, women and their families continue to outweigh the support they receive.

Together, we can show them that we are forever grateful for their service and sacrifice! Together, we can make a difference!

Click here to watch the video and learn more. 

Proceeds From Inaugural Event Held at Bent Tree Country Club Making A Difference!

Retired Marine and Bent Tree Country Club member, Jay Cassen, along with former marine and Asst General Manager, Kyle Ruch, presented Clint Bruce, former Navy Seal and co-founder of Carry The Load with a $46,000 donation which will be used to continue the mission of Carry The Load.

In addition to this local donation, we were also able to contribute another $46,000 to other veteran service organizations including Fisher House Foundation, Disabled Sports USA, and Hope For The Warriors among others!

These donations were made possible from the generous attendees of the Inaugural Tee It Up for the Troops event held at Bent Tree Country Club on Veteran’s Day 2015.

Thank you to all who made these donations possible and for helping Tee It Up for the Troops fulfill OUR MISSION to HONOR, RESPECT, REMEMBER and SUPPORT all those who have served in the armed forces for our great nation!

Bent Tree Tee It Up for the Troop Golf event
Bent Tree Tee It Up for the Troop Golf event

Donation to Carry The Load

David Leadbetter and Lydia Ko host clinic at REUNION 2016

Through the fog could be seen nearly 50 veterans, many showing visible signs of injury, some missing an arm, others a leg. With cameras and phones in hand, they gathered around rows of white folding chairs near the end of the range.

They were there to see David Leadbetter and Lydia Ko.

The World No.1 LPGA golfer, Lydia Ko, joined instructor David Leadbetter in leading a clinic for Tee It Up For the Troops, an organization that reconnects soldiers who are wounded, injured, or ill at an annual REUNION event. This year, 45 veterans reunited during the four-day event at, by no coincidence, Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Read more.

Story written by Amy Rogers,

HomeFront Resource Center receives donation from Tee It Up for the Troops

“It’s an exciting day,” says Tarryl Clark, Chair of the HomeFront Resource Center. “We had hundreds of people who participated in some way — volunteers or golfers at the event — who helped raise a good chunk of this money.”

Clark, who is also Dean of Sciences, Technology and Math at the school, says they are currently raising money for the design phase of the HomeFront Center.

“The enthusiasm and commitment [seen] from everybody here to continue to be a part of this is really exciting.”

The HomeFront Resource Center, which is expected to open in the fall of 2017, will provide information, counseling, and other services to the veteran community.

The donated funds were raised at the 2015 Tee It Up for the Troops events held at the St. Cloud Country Club and Mendakota Country Club.

Read More: SCTCC Veterans Center Awarded $16K

Home Front Resource Center-Check-Presentation

Combat Affected Veterans & the Game of Golf

Military Network Radio with Linda Kreter & co-host Pamela Stokes Eggleston presents:

Combat Affected Veterans & the Game of Golf…

Golf. It’s more than just a game. The intrinsic power of a new skill, renewed independence, networking, the great outdoors, the greens, and being with other veterans and golfers is all part of the value and benefit of golf. More than anything, the sport of golf, the camaraderie of veterans, and the amazing feats they have accomplished on and off the course set a new standard of friendship and respect.

Communities also benefit from meeting and playing competitively with veterans to help bridge that “sweet spot” of understanding between military and civilian members.

Listen Live or Download the podcast here.

Air date, 08Dec2015.

Exciting new opportunity at Tee It Up for the Troops

Tee It Up for the Troops, a growing non-profit organization serving our military veterans, is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN and has an exciting new opportunity. We are adding a full-time Manager – Events and Business Development position to our team to manage many aspects of our fundraising golf events across the country.   Primary responsibilities include planning, development, marketing and communication of key initiatives to community volunteer committees.

WE WANT YOU TO JOIN OUR TEAMWe need a talented individual who brings a strong focus to best practices and ensures alignment with our organizational mission.  Must be a strong and effective communicator, be self-directed, and experienced with sales prospecting and revenue generation. The ideal candidate will possess the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree in Business or a related field and 3 years minimum experience in a sales or business development role. Knowledge of golf fundraising events considered beneficial.  Please note that Tee It Up for the Troops is proud to be a veteran friendly organization and will give priority to veterans.  A full Job Description is available upon request.

Please send resumes and questions/requests to or

Tee It Up for the Troops

Attn: Jodi Baer

515 W Travelers Tr

Burnsville, MN 55337

Thank you for your interest!

At Camp Soaring Eagle they are talking about what a difference Tee It Up for the Troops has made in the lives of children!

At Camp Soaring Eagle, they have been talking about what a difference Tee It Up for the Troops has made in the lives of kids whose parent(s) are veterans and/or are currently deployed.  Thanks to a grant from Tee It Up for the Troops, the children and families greatly benefit from their camping experience at Camp Soaring Eagle.  Participants enjoy fishing, archery, horseback riding, arts & crafts, and a number of other activities.
Katie Deutschman with Camp Soaring Eagle said, “Thank you ever so much for helping us to make it happen… the relief, the smiles, and the fun that the children drink up while they are at camp!” Camp Soaring Eagle 2015-2Camp Soaring Eagle 2015-3

Operation Heartfirst Update – 1st gym to open soon!

Antime Fitness tubemanFounded in 2002, Anytime Fitness is a fast-growing franchise chain that recently opened its 3,000th gym worldwide. But how this particular franchise opened has a distinctly local flair.

As a way to thank military veterans for their service and to encourage additional employment options once they step out of uniform, the company partnered with Tee It Up for Troops to establish the Heartfirst Foundation. Their first joint initiative — Operation Heartfirst — provides a $125,00 grant plus a $125,000 low-interest loan as base funding to allow a selected military veteran the opportunity to open their own Anytime Fitness franchise. The program specifically targets markets with a high military concentration and, in turn, the goal is for the gym to provide employment for more veterans.

“We chose the general location of where the awardee will build their gym because we want these clubs to open in communities that serve a military base. “Based on these goals, we selected the greater Fayetteville area for the first gym to be built with Operation Heartfirst,” said Mark Daly, national media director with Anytime Fitness.

Tim Wegscheid, president of Tee It Up for Troops, said they sought candidates with distinguished records of military service who were eager to help others lead healthier lifestyles and those who had continued to serve and support the U.S. military and its veterans.

“We looked for candidates with a passion for fitness and community engagement,” Wegscheid said. “The Ambrozewskis fit that description exactly.”

Hannah and Tristan Ambrozewski served as intelligence analysts with the U.S. Army from 2005 to 2012. The couple met at basic training, married, and balanced multiple overseas deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade.

Now, both honorably discharged, Tristan continues to perform similar duties for a Department of Defense contractor. After leaving active duty, Hannah said she missed doing physical training every day, so she purchased a small franchise called Stroller Strides, which is a child-friendly fitness program designed for moms and caregivers of little ones.

“I had always wanted to own a gym so that was a great place to start,” she said. “We always wanted to own our own business.”

When the couple learned about the Heartfirst Foundation and its grant program, they quickly applied and were thrilled to be selected. The grant and loan funding provides necessary start-up capital to open their gym.

“We’re incredibly excited to help veterans and non-veterans alike in our community learn how to lead healthier lifestyles,” said Hannah, who will have primary responsibility for the day-to-day operations and management of the gym. “We also love the idea of being able to provide jobs to other military veterans.”

Article by Laura, Douglass, Staff Writer,