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.

 

 

Grant Recipient SPOTLIGHT: Operation Canyon Rising

Operation Canyon Rising is an expedition for disabled veterans to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim as motivation to aid in their rehabilitation and provide them with a monumental goal that, once achieved, gives them incentive to lead a fulfilling life.

Starting from the North rim is symbolic of how life was before their injury or illness. Then by hiking down the floor of the canyon, the depths of the realization of the permanent realities of the new disability and the monumental recovery ahead are reached. Finally, climbing out of the canyon on the South rim gives the analogy of “RISING UP” to meet their life-long challenge, learning to overcome limitations and gaining hope for both the veteran and others they are closely associated with.

Tee It Up for the Troops sponsorship of this expedition helped six individuals make this rim to rim journey including two below the knee amputees, one above the knee amputee, one arm amputee, one Gold Star widow and one Gold Star sister.

Founder Steve Connolly, Lt. Col. (Ret) USAF Reserves, had this to say: “This was probably the most impactful expedition I have done so far! I cannot thank you enough, yet again, for your support. The combination of the disabled veterans with the Gold Star family members was unbelievable. As we got to the bottom of the canyon and they opened up about their lows in life, each member of the team found a way to connect with others on the team. They formed beautiful bonds and really helped to heal each other. Many were suicidal and in talking with each other, they saw different points of views, common grounds of hurt and reasons to go on in life. Our motto of RISE UP on September 11th was taken to heart and they all left this journey with a purpose in life and a path forward. I just want you to know that you truly made a difference in their lives, and in sponsoring this expedition, you showed them that people out there really do care about them and that means a lot!”

On September 11, 2018, as the group hiked out of the canyon, their motto of “RISE UP” to face life’s challenges was taken to heart as they all left this journey with a purpose in life and a path forward… just as our country did after the terrorist attacks 17 years ago on that same date.

If you would like to read the bios of these brave participants or learn more about Operation Canyon Rising, click here.

Event SPOTLIGHT: Rochester Minnesota

The Tee It Up for the Troops Rochester, Minnesota event is one of many Tee It Up for the Troops golf tournaments held across the nation each year. In terms of money raised to support our mission, this event is the second largest golf tournament in Minnesota and ranks in the top 10 nation-wide. Over the past 11 years, this event held at Willow Creek Golf Course, has raised more than $550,000 for veterans and military service organizations and has established itself as one of the strongest charity golf events that brings together the Rochester Minnesota and surrounding community it serves.

On August 23, 2018, 180 golfers including 36 military members, filled the Willow Creek Golf Course to honor, remember, respect and support all who serve(d) in the Armed Forces for this great nation. The opening ceremony kicked off the event paying tribute to seven World War II veterans as well as two Medal of Honor recipients who have now visited the event for two consecutive years. Four local Gold Star families were also honored during the ceremony that paid tribute to their sons who were killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“There is huge support for our troops and the Rochester tournament,” said event chairman Lynn Clarey. “We usually have a waiting list of golfers and sponsors who want to be a part of this event. What is really exciting about this annual event is seeing the local military impact from the money raised.”

In addition to making a difference for Veterans across the United States, this tournament also made a different to Minnesota veterans with a generous donation to the Believet Canine Service Partners Organization in Northfield, Minnesota. Believet provides highly trained service dogs, free of charge, to disabled veterans, helping them to lead a more productive, independent life. Tee It Up for the Troops-Rochester’s donation will feed eight dogs in training through Believet Canine Service Partners to be service dogs for disabled veterans for one year!

This event also proudly donated to many other local veteran support organizations including:Operation Hometown Gratitude, Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch’s Operation Welcome Home,   Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, Salvation Army for Homeless Veterans, Seasons  Hospice Veterans Fund, andBells for Eternity.

Thank you Tee It Up for the Troops-Rochester organizers, volunteers, sponsors and supporters for your support of the Tee It Up for the Troops mission to honor, remember, respect and support all those who serve(d) in the Armed Forces of the United States and for helping our heroes!

Photo to left: US troops stationed in Afghanistan were grateful to receive care packages from students at Rochester High School in partnership with Operation Hometown Gratitude. A grant from the Tee It Up for the Troops – Rochester Minnesota event was used to pay for the postage costs to ship the packages.

Pledge your support to Chris and the “100 Holes of Golf” Marathon to support Tee It Up for the Troops!

Fellow Patriot,

Chris Fearn, Assistant Golf Pro Dataw Island Club, will be “stepping up to the tee” to golf “100 Holes of Golf” to support all those who serve(d) in the Armed Forces and needs your support! Chris’ goal is to raise $50,000 in support of the mission of Tee It Up for the Troops and his Heroes. In addition to supporting all those who serve with your tax-deductible donation, you will be entered into cumulative prize drawings based on your donation amount! Prizes are listed below or can be found via the following links:

Learn more and make your on-line donation via the following link: https://goo.gl/CiLHkm 

CLICK HERE to learn more and to mail in your donation.

Chris’s story:

Five years ago, when Chris began helping to run the Veteran’s Day event to support disabled Veterans, he was very moved by the disabled veterans that were their guests. Chris said, “the positive outlook that they have on life was so encouraging. Spending time with each one of them really motivated me and made me look at life in a different way. I knew then, that I wanted to do more to help.”

Chris Fearn, Assistant Golf Pro

When Chris came up with the idea of doing a golf marathon he had no idea the impact it was going to have, or how many individuals it would touch and help. The impact is what motivates him to continue to do a golf marathon every year which Chris says “is easy compared to the sacrifice of all those who serve(d). This is the least I can do for them!” When Chris gets tired while playing “100 Holes of Golf” he looks at the picture of his uncle who was killed in the Vietnam War, the picture of Dave Bagby a friend and disabled Veteran who passed away, or he just looks around at the disabled veterans that come out to support him and that is all the motivation he needs to keep going.

Chris will be “stepping up to the tee” at Dataw Island Club in St. Helena Island, South Carolina to play “100 Holes of Golf” in support of his Heroes and all those who serve(d)! All donations made to the “100 Holes of Golf” Marathon will go to Tee It Up for the Troops whose mission is to honor, remember, respect and support all those who serve(d) in the Armed Forces for our great nation.

 

PRIZE PACKAGES:

  • 9 Hole Club – Minimum $25 donation Your name entered into a drawing for your choice of a Men’s ¼ Zip or Women’s Full Zip jacket.
  • 18 Hole Club – Minimum $50 donation Your name entered into a drawing for a PING stand golf bag. This super lightweight bag has seven pockets for storage.
  • 36 Hole Club – Minimum $100 donation Your name entered into a drawing for a Stay and Play package at Reunion Resort in Orlando, FL.
  • 54 Hole Club – Minimum $250 donation Your name entered into a drawing for a Stay and Play package at the Hammock Beach Resort, along Florida’s Palm Coast.
  • 72 Hole Club – Minimum $500 donation Your name entered into a drawing for your choice from two Stay and Play packages at the beautiful Crystal Springs Resort, located in the rolling farmland of New Jersey.
  • 90 Hole Club – Minimum $750 donation Your name entered into a drawing for a 4 day – 3-night golf package for 4 to beautiful Dataw Island, South Carolina.
  • 100 Hole Club – Minimum $1000 donation Your name entered into a drawing for the Tee It Up for the Troops 8th annual REUNION event, held at the Reunion Resort, Kissimee FL, Jan 10-13, 2019.

Be Inspired by all that we can accomplish by “stepping up to the tee!”

We hope you enjoy this short video are are inspired by all that we can accomplish by “stepping up to the tee” and working together on behalf of.

Since 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted more than 415 fundraising events in over 40 states. With the generous support of sponsors and volunteers, these events have allowed us to donate over $9,000,000 to more than 325 veteran service organizations that provide critically needed services to help our veterans to heal, transition, grow and thrive. Tee It Up for the Troops targets its support across these critical areas of need:

  • Treatment of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries: the hidden wounds of war
  • Suicide Awareness and Prevention: reducing veteran suicides
  • Employment: veteran unemployment rate is much higher than the national average
  • Sports and Recreation: both adaptive and rehabilitative
  • Family and Caregiver Support: strong family + strong caregiver = strong warrior
  • Housing: homelessness, plus transitional and comfort housing while receiving treatment

We also continue to strengthen veterans through our REUNION program in which we have reunited nearly 300 combat veterans who were separated due to battlefield injuries, changes in rehabilitation, or other reasons beyond their control.

In addition, we are honored to assist veterans in launching their own business through our Operation Heartfirst initiative with Anytime Fitness.

 

Tee It Up for the Troops Selects Third Operation HeartFirst™ Recipient to Open Anytime Fitness Franchise!

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…”

Lights … camera … action! Tee It Up for the Troops is excited to announce a new partnership that will bring our message and mission to cable TV!

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.”

TV Partnership and Sponsorship Opportunities Fact Sheet.

Get more information on sponsored segments on The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour here.

 

About The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour

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.

Contacts

John Gregory Olson, Sponsor Relations, The Stu and Laurie Variety Hour: john@jgodigital.com

Tim Wegscheid, President, Tee It Up for the Troops: tim@teeitupforthetroops.org

Stu and Laurie Variety Hour Information Link: https://www.slideshare.net/johngolson/goodbye-tv-ads-hello-sponsored-content

Thanks to support from Tee It Up for the Troops, Project Sanctuary is able to provide new growth that will impact military families both now and for generations to come.

The Road to Independence (submitted by Project Sanctuary).

Not an hour goes by for Jim* without reliving the horrors of that day. One moment he was on a fairly typical mission in Iraq. The next he lay trying to clear the dust from his eyes and inventory the full extent of his injuries.

The months that followed seemed like a series of snapshots —each one building upon the last to ensure Jim’s survival. Doctors had prepared him that his odds for walking again were slim to none. His wife, Shannon, and their three young children remained by his side through it all.

After three surgeries, recovery became Jim’s new mission and perhaps the most grueling of all, with hours upon hours of therapy, trying to make his body move as it had before. Post-traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury induced nightmares, flashbacks and migraines.

Jim often found it ironic that the virtues of freedom and independence for which he had fought in Iraq became the same virtues he was now fighting for within himself.

The stress of recovery, on top of lives interrupted by combat deployments, began to take its toll on Jim, Shannon and their children. A friend of Shannon’s told her about Project Sanctuary and recommended that she submit a family application. Jim wasn’t so sure.

Like Jim, many service members are apprehensive about what to expect at Project Sanctuary. Trust doesn’t come easily with combat veterans. In the end, though, they all seek change, overcoming apprehensions with the hope of starting anew.

At Project Sanctuary, we alleviate those apprehensions, creating a place where every member of the family can truly thrive. In this environment, relationships are renewed, memories are made, and tools are provided for empowerment. And with at least two years of follow-up support post retreat, families have a partnership they can depend on, even when times get tough.

“We were on a hike, surrounded by warriors with a variety of injuries, even amputations. I think being with them gave Jim the confidence to put himself out there. You could just see from that moment on that he refused to let either his physical limitations or his PTSD define him.”From the moment Jim, Shannon and their three children arrived at their retreat, they felt welcomed, accommodated and safe. By day two, retreat administrator Neil recalls that Jim truly began to let his guard down.

Jim took part in zip lining and rock climbing, and even left his cane lying next to a log during one of the activities, walking on his own.

“There was a point about halfway through the week when Jim said he wasn’t ready for the retreat to end,” recalls Shannon. “He was looking forward to seeing and talking to people each day.”

At Project Sanctuary, Jim and his family gained the courage to try new things, make new connections and trust once again — changes that will allow them to reach new heights together. Thanks to support from Tee It Up for the Troops, Project Sanctuary is able to activate that change, providing new growth that will impact families both now and for generations to come.

Jim now knows that he’ll one day be able to walk his little girls down the aisle. 1,900 families just like Jim’s are currently on our wait list after taking the first step — reaching out for help. Through generous, ongoing support from Tee It Up for the Troops, you assure them they are heard and they are honored.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the family.

Proceeds from Kentwool USA Collection sales to be donated to Tee It Up for the Troops!

Join Kentwool and Tee It Up for the Troops in celebrating our Independence by supporting the Veterans who made it possible!

20% of the proceeds from the KENTWOOL USA Collection sales through 7/31/17 will be donated to Tee It Up for the Troops!

Family owned and operated since 1843, KENTWOOL has become universally regarded as the World’s Best Golf Sock. In terms of comfort and performance, no other sock compares. KENTWOOL socks are worn by dozens of PGA and LPGA Tour professionals, including Kevin Kisner, Ryan Moore, David Toms, Matt Kuchar, Ben Martin, Ryan Palmer and many other pros. Additionally over 100 Professional Tour caddies trust Kentwool socks to perform over a long and grueling season.

KENTWOOL socks are the only golf socks that carry a Lifetime Blister-Free Guarantee. And like all of Kentwool’s products, they are manufactured in Pickens, South Carolina in the U.S.A.

In addition to the World’s Best Golf Sock, KENTWOOL has also created innovative, high tech garments for use by the United States military.

 

Tee It Up for the Troops raises money, shows appreciation for military personnel

STORY BY ROBYN PASSANTE, THE ISLAND PACKET

Capt. Denver Edick, who works on Parris Island, says his boss often complains that Edick works too much — which is probably why he was selected to play in the annual Tee It Up for the Troops event held Friday at Sea Pines Country Club on Hilton Head Island. And the Marine was more than happy to follow his command’s orders.

“It was phenomenal. Sure beat being in the office,” said Edick, who’s been an active duty Marine for 11 years. “It was a beautiful day, beautiful course, great people and a great event.”

Tee It Up for the Troops hosted 60 servicemen and women from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and U.S. Naval Hospital Beaufort for a day of golf and a bit of pampering to thank them for their service and raise money to support veterans and their families across the country.

“They’re serving our country and we’re proud to give them a nice day; it’s very rewarding for us,” said Ron Taylor, a club member and one of the event’s organizers.

The local tournament was one of 60 planned across the country this year, said Jodi Baer, director of operations for the national organization.

“Since 2005, Tee It Up for the Troops has hosted over 360 golf fundraising events and donated more than $7 million to veteran service organizations,” Baer said. “Through collective efforts, including over 25,000 hours of volunteer time dedicated to our events in 2016 alone, we are providing critically needed services to assist veterans and military families successfully reintegrate into their communities.”

Click here for the rest of the story!