Tee It Up for the Troops is proud to announce the third recipient of a financial grant designed to help military veterans open their own Anytime Fitness gyms and provide additional employment opportunities for fellow veterans.
This year’s selected recipient, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Hunt, retired as a United States Air Force Technical Sergeant in the Security Forces career field. Deployed six times during her 15 years of service, Liz said, “the gear never got lighter, the terrain never got easier to ruck through, and after listening to my squad talk about (and sometimes experiencing) back and knee pain, I realized the significance of not just keeping myself fit, but ensuring my squad was just as fit (if not more).” Thus began her dream of owning her own Anytime Fitness franchise!
Liz and her husband Corey, a 17 year Major in the Air Force, will use a $125,000 grant and a $125,000 loan as start-up capital to open an Anytime Fitness gym near Fort Rucker in Dothan, Alabama.
After learning that she had been selected, Liz pledged “I, on the core values the military raised me on, pledge to not only paint this town purple with Anytime Fitness’ motto, but to do right and remain humbled at organizations such as yours that never stop serving…that truly embrace the motto of carrying your brother/sister…”
Tee It Up for the Troops is excited to announce a new partnership with The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour, which is planned to debut on Pop TV in Fall, 2017. The show will feature segments to promote awareness of Tee It Up for the Troops’ mission and expand its impact for supporting all those who serve(d) and their families.
“We want to use TV entertainment to make a difference, and this partnership is a great way to do that,” said Stu Newmeyer, Executive Producer and cohost of the show. “We are planning to do location segments from military bases, USO shows, overseas uplink segments, annual telethons and many other special features to raise money for helping our veterans.”
As part of the partnership, The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour is donating more than $3 million of TV time to promote Tee It Up for the Troops. In addition, the show will promote Tee It Up for the Troops on its website and all of its social media channels.
New branding opportunities for sponsors
This partnership also offers a unique opportunity for organizations that support Tee It Up for the Troops. They can become part of an innovative new way to build their brand on television.
The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour is pioneering a new approach to commercial TV. It is TV without commercials. Instead of advertising breaks, the show will feature sponsored segments that are integrated into the program.
“Viewers will stay engaged with the sponsor’s message because it is integrated into the show’s entertainment,” Newmeyer said. “Product placements, product demos and brand messages take the form of songs, comedy sketches, parodies and other programming that doesn’t interrupt viewers with a commercial.”
Newmeyer believes integrated sponsor segments are the future of brand-building on TV. The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour is the first TV show of any kind to feature 100 percent sponsored content with no advertising.
Tee It Up for the Troops sponsors are invited to take advantage of this new opportunity. “We see this as a great opportunity for our sponsors,” said Tim Wegscheid, President of Tee It Up for the Troops. “Not only would they get national recognition for their support of our veterans, but they would also be taking advantage of an innovative new way to build their brand.”
The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour is a classic variety show format updated for today. It is star-studded family entertainment designed to bring the generations together. It features music, comedy sketches, dancing, stand-up, games and giveaways that appeal to the Boomer and Millennial demographics. It is the first television show to integrate sponsored content into the programming to replace TV advertising. It is planned to air primetime Sundays on Pop TV this Fall.
About Tee It Up for the Troops
Tee It Up for the Troops is a national 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves U.S. military veterans and their families. Based in Minnesota, Tee it Up for the Troops inspires communities across the country to organize golf events to raise funds for partnering veteran service organizations who deliver critically needed services to military families. These locally-supported events also greatly assist returning service members to successfully reintegrate into their communities. Established in 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted over 360 events in more than 40 states and has donated over $7 million to more than 300 various organizations serving veterans across the country.
We love this letter we received from K9s For Warriors regarding the use of the grant awarded to them by Tee It Up for the Troops!
Dear Mr. Wegscheld & Tee It Up for the Troops,
Thank you so much for your recent grant award. Your grant will help with the continued equipment and building costs of the second kennel, which officially opened in September, 2016. Having this additional kennel vastly increases our service dog training capability, adding 31 new stalls to our campus. Once filled, we will be able to speed up the rate at which we pair warriors and canines, saving the lives of dogs and veterans faster.
Currently, we accommodate 6-8 warriors per class. Our goal for 2017 is to increase class sizes to 10 members, as we try our hardest to fight against the suicide epidemic of post-9/11 heroes. The additional kennel is key to meeting this goal. It allows us to have more dogs available and ready to pair with the warriors who need them most. In 2016, we graduated 72 warrior-canine teams! That indicates a total of 144 lives saved last year, counting just graduates. However, our statistics are even better than that, because we saved a total of 190 dogs! Those that weren’t evaluated as good fits for service work were adopted into homes of eager, dedicated dog lovers.
We are fortunate to hear many touching testimonies from the veterans who get “a new leash on life” from our program. Brad was a member of our November, 2016 class along with his service dog, Bear. We have included his photo as an attachment to this update. Here is his quote describing his newfound hope:
“I tried everything under the sun, from medications to neurological treatments. After going through K9s’ program, I now have peace of mind that my future will be better than my past. K9s saves veterans, making them functional citizens, with the help of an animal that would’ve most likely been euthanized. I now have hope for my life.” – Brad & Bear, November 2016 graduates.
Thank you again for your generosity. We look forward to continuing this partnership to help our military veterans reintegrate into society.
CEO, K9s For Warriors
Military service members, Veterans and their families are supported by countless organizations who acknowledge their sacrifices. Tee It Up for the Troops is honored to be featured in the Fisher House Patriot magazine as a top-tier veteran service organization! Click here to read the article from The Patriot magazine!
Tee It Up for the Troops not only supports Fisher House Foundation, we also support Fisher Houses at the local level by providing golf carts to be used by those staying at the homes. The golf carts have made a difference to patients and families who may have difficulty walking, or seek protection from inclement weather. The notes we get from the Fisher House managers mean so much knowing we are helping to make these families comfortable!
Thank you for supporting our wounded and disabled veterans and their families during the “Longest Day of Golf for the Troops” on June 20.
“The Longest Day” was a famous book and movie (starring John Wayne) honoring those who fought for our freedom on D-Day (June 6, 1944). On Friday, June 20 (the longest day of the year), Bunker Hills Golf Club is hosting the Inaugural Longest Day of Golf for the Troops.
Up to twenty golfers will be Teeing It Up for the Troops at the crack of dawn, and playing until sundown to raise money for Tee It Up for the Troops and their partner charitable organizations serving the needs of fallen and disabled veterans and their families.
Jeff Locke, MN Vikings punter, who will be participating in the event said “Both my father and grandfather served in the military and I have a great appreciation for the sacrifices that all of our veterans and their families have made for our country. Last year, I was fortunate to have Josh Freeman donate $10,000 to the Minneapolis VA Medical Center as part of our deal to let him wear my jersey #12.
“This year, I hope to raise as much money as I can for this event to continue giving back and supporting veterans here in Minnesota and across the country.”
Chris Dernick is passionate about maintaining the traditions of golf, this explains her commitment to the AJGA and the CB&I Boys Championship at Carlton Woods. Through the tournament, Dernick is also able to help out another group of people she loves, the Troops.
“One of the biggest things I have grown to appreciate is the opportunity we have to give back to the Troops. It is about the opportunity to show our appreciation for the sacrifices that they make,” Dernick said through tears. “I think it’s really important for us to provide those opportunities to our youth to realize the sacrifices people are making for them.”
We are grateful that Dernick has chosen to fulfill that passion for the Troops by working with PING and the AJGA to donate the golf bags used at the event to Tee it up for the Troops!
The SeaCliff tournament is one of many tournaments providing an opportunity to show gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by our brave service men and women. Attendees include military families, fellow patriots, honored wounded warriors and active duty military guests. In addition to a great day of golf, incredible on-course food and drink, and a fabulous dinner banquet, guests and sponsors have the opportunity to view military displays and experience the thrill of a fly-over. This memorable event touches the hearts of all in attendance!
In 2007, a dedicated group of members of Alta Vista Country Club committed themselves, their labor and their resources to the wounded warrior cause and conducted the Club’s Inaugural Tee it up for the Troops Golf Tournament. Over the last 7 years the Alta Vista tournament has been TIUFTT most successful single day / single venue event, raising to date some $900,000+.
Meet Staff Sgt. Patrick Ziegler, a Fort Hood massacre survivor. Patrick was just moments away from being cleared to attend Officer Candidate School when he was shot in the head, shoulder, arm and hip.
November 5, 2009 was destined to change – forever – the lives of SSgt. Patrick Zeigler and Jessica Hansen. But not in the way they had planned! SSgt. Zeigler had just returned from his second combat deployment in Iraq and had returned 3 weeks ahead of his unit because he was set to begin Officer’s Candidate School. Later that fateful day he would receive his final Army enlisted separation clearance to leave Fort Hood, TX to head to Fort Benning, GA to begin school to become an Officer.
Then It Happened!
In a hailstorm of bullets, Nidal Malik Hasan, Army Major and psychiatrist turned radical Muslim terrorist, opened fire – killing 13 people and an unborn child as well as injuring 31 soldiers that were wearing the same uniform that he was wearing. With gunshots to his head, shoulder, forearm and hip and the last pints of precious blood were being pumped from his body through the massive head wounds, his first thought was to call his fiancée, Jessica. Initially, the first medic to reach him was told to sit with him until he died because they did not think his wounds were survivable. With so many people injured who required medical care, the medics had to make the difficult decisions of who to use vital resources on. However, he maintained consciousness and began talking to the medics and asking them to help him. Once they saw the fight Patrick had in him, they decided to give him a chance and they immediately began performing care on him and got him into an ambulance. He was one of the first victims to arrive at the hospital emergency room on Fort Hood and he perfectly described the shooter and the details of the scene before he lost consciousness and was airlifted to the trauma center for brain surgery. The bullet that entered his skull, shattered on impact and also shattered his bone, leaving his brain filled with bullet and bone fragments that caused near fatal bleeding. During surgery to save his life, 20-30% of his brain was actually removed. He was given less than a 5% chance of survival. Jessica remembers being told he would likely be left in a vegetative state and that I “should put him in a nursing home and move on”.
Fast Forward To Today.
After enduring more than 10 brain surgeries, 4 of which resulted in life-threatening complications that set Patrick back and required he relearn basic skills, including how to walk, all over again he has begun living his life anew. With his wife, Jessica, who at the age of 22 made the decision to be a care giving wife the rest of her life, are the proud parents of an 18-month-old son, Liam.
About 4 months ago the Zeigler family, living in Rochester, MN had their lives changed once again – this time for the better!
Thanks to our supporters and PawPADS, Staff Sgt. Patrick Ziegler, his wife Jessica and son, Liam welcomed assistance dog Ranger to their home after Patrick and Ranger graduated from PawPADS assistance dog training.
This is just one of the many ways Tee It Up for the Troops fills the gap in the lives of these American heroes.
Tee it up for the Troops, Inc. is a proud supporter of PawPADS. Seen in the picture to the left is our Chairman, Chuck Benson, presenting a $15,000 donation check to Linda Ball, Executive Director, PawPADS.
110 attendees. 96 golfers. Thirty warriors reunited. Three productive breakout sessions. Numerous connections made. Countless memories created. We were blessed with wonderful sunshine, beautiful surroundings, challenging golf courses, and a wonderful group of people gathered together to support a critical cause – reuniting a diverse group of warriors from all across the country.
“This weekend was one of the greatest moments of my life since becoming a Wounded Warrior and the camaraderie was absolutely incredible. To be part of such a wonderful event and to be around other Wounded Warriors was definitely a healing feeling.”
“You have given me just a little more hope that things can get better and that there are good people in the world. The stories of inspiration from this weekend and the support I received from perfect strangers was more than I ever expected.”
Some photos courtesy of Moving Warriors Media (Matt Bilancia).