PGA TOUR SCORES HOLE IN ONE WITH SOLDIERS
A short post on a Military web site months ago, connected the Mother of a Soldier in Florida, to a Soldier's Mom in Connecticut. Karen Perry and I were two women who had never met, never even spoken. All we had in common…was supporting our Soldiers.
A few emails were exchanged between us, sharing information about our efforts to make deployment a little easier for our men and women in uniform. Karen mentioned that her husband, Tom Perry, headed up the Human Resource Department of the PGA TOUR, an organization which demonstrates its support for the US Armed Forces in many ways. We both laughed when I told Karen that I had shipped a few used, donated clubs and golf balls to my son, Tanner, stationed in Iraq for his second deployment.
"Mom, I'll be playing in the 'Desert Classic!'" Tanner exclaimed.
When my son returned stateside, he left behind his clubs for those replacing him, so they could enjoy putting on a small makeshift course, or driving balls into "sand traps."In October of 2006, Tanner returned to Iraq, and knowing that his unit would appreciate being able to reconstruct the "Desert Classic," I boxed up several more used clubs and balls.
Karen and I emailed very little over the hectic holidays, and I hadn't heard from her in about two months. However, she had not forgotten my son…or his unit.
Cathie Hurlburt, Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR contacted me, stating that Karen had asked if their organization could send some golf equipment to another Soldier. That Soldier…was my son.
The PGA TOUR responded, and in an email, Cathie described how and why the PGA TOUR got involved in sending various items to Soldiers on active duty.
"In September of 2003, we saw an Internet story about a Soldier who built a 6-hole golf course on his base in Mosul," Cathie explained. "The Commissioner of the PGA TOUR (my boss) asked me to locate the Soldier and see if there was anything we could do to help him with his golf course. I e-mailed him, and we subsequently sent him golf balls, golf clubs, flag sticks."
Cathie Hurlburt detailed some of the other things that the staff of the PGA TOUR had done over the past few years: sending DVD'S and X-Box games, Girl Scout Cookies and golf clubs…boosting the morale of dozens of Soldiers.
"We continued to support those Soldiers, and have kept in touch with them still to this day. They've become part of our "PGA TOUR family." Cathie said. "We actually don't seek publicity for the stuff we have been doing. We do it because it is the right thing to do. Because we support our men and women in uniform and acknowledge the sacrifice that they make on a daily basis. It makes us happy to know that by sending items to them, we can ease their burden just a little, if for only a little while."
The PGA TOUR has since adopted other units of Soldiers. Thanks to the kind intervention of Karen Perry, the PGA Tour recently sent my son's unit a few hundred golf balls, tees, two sets of clubs and also contracted with another company, to provide a driving range net. Tanner and his unit now have the equipment needed to expand and enjoy the "Desert Classic."
More significantly, these men and women in the Military have the knowledge that their service to our Country, is greatly appreciated and acknowledged. Total strangers reached out and touched the lives of many Soldiers, simply to assist in making deployment a little more bearable.
To Karen, Cathie and the PGA Tour, I say, "Thank you. Your thoughtfulness and support has also touched my life. You have helped me prove to my son, and the other 288 Soldiers in his unit, that Americans care enough to extend a helping hand to those who serve and protect."
A common bond linked two strangers, miles away, who have now formed a friendship; one that I believe will exist long after the last hole is played.
© Arlene R. O'Neil
About the author Arlene R. O'Neil is the very proud parent of a US Soldier, and Author of "Broken Spokes," a soon to be released novel. In addition to being an author, Arlene is a self-employed editor and proofreader and is a regular contributor to www.goarmyparents.com. A member of several blind dog lists, Arlene is involved in animal rescue and transport. Currently, she resides in Connecticut, and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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