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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gr. Nashua golfing for US soldiers, their families

By WAYNE MILLS

Putting Around

There is an old adage that says “freedom isn’t free,” but the cost of that freedom here in the United States varies. To some it is about the portion of their taxes that support military and security budgets. To others it is about volunteering to serve, to others it is coming home from combat physically maimed and mentally torn – and to some it involves the ultimate sacrifice; the giving of their lives.

To those that have died, their life is over and their memory is what is left for us to honor. But a certain group, the surviving families, is left to cope and carry on without their husbands and fathers. The average age of a fallen or wounded serviceman is 26 years old and he has an average of 21⁄2 dependents and the average age of his children is 8. A serviceman’s income averages about $28,000 annually.

There have been over 5,000 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq alone and an astounding 34,000 have been wounded. Humans have become frighteningly proficient in creating weapons that kill and maim.

The golfing community has always been most appreciative and supportive of those that serve and have given so much. Maybe it is because many of us have been able to benefit from the opportunities that freedom in this country has provided.

There are two golf tournaments this summer here in Nashua that will support two worthy national organizations that provide much needed support to surviving military families, The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Folds of Honor Foundation.

Intrepid event at Sky Meadow

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund will hold a fundraiser at Sky Meadow Country Club on Aug. 8. From 2000 when the fund was established, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund provided over $120 million in support for the families of military personnel lost in service to our nation and for severely wounded military personnel and veterans. These efforts are funded entirely by donations from the public.

Richard Santulli, Chairman of the Board of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund puts it thusly “The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund exists to help those who have made these sacrifices. We have made grants to the families of those who have been lost. We have built an advanced rehabilitation center to care for those with amputation and severe burn injuries. And we have most recently constructed what will be our nation’s foremost facility for treating service members and veterans who suffer from traumatic brain injury. These efforts are part of the way that our nation can pay back the debt we owe to those who stand in our defense.

“I have seen first hand the terrible injuries that some of our military have received but I have also seen the indomitable spirit that each one of these fine Americans has displayed. I am humbled by their courage and am in awe of their commitment and the dedication to their mission.

“I ask that all Americans join me in honoring these brave men and women and the selfless sacrifices that they have made in keeping our nation and its people safe.”

For information on the event at Sky Meadow contact Robert Conner at 781-729-9450, Ext. 719 and for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund log onto fallenheroesfund.org.

There are openings available and the outing includes golf, cart, gifts and a New England clambake at dinner. It is also possible to sponsor an active military serviceman or veteran if you yourself can’t play.

Folds of Honor event at NCC

The Folds of Honor Foundation was founded in 2007 by Major Dan Rooney, a former F-16 pilot, golf course owner, PGA Professional and USGA member. A Major in the Air National Guard and a decorated military aviator, Rooney has served three combat tours in Iraq.

The Folds of Honor Foundation has this as their mission statement, “The Folds of Honor Foundation salutes the sacrifice of fallen and disabled service members by ensuring their families are not left behind. Through scholarships and other assistance, we provide healing and hope to these families and seek to rally the nation in support of those who have served and sacrificed for our country.”

On Aug. 28, Nashua Country Club will hold their 3rd annual Patriot Golf Day, the flagship fundraiser for the Folds of Honor Foundation.

The members will give up their golf course for the day and volunteer their time and money to support the cause. In the first two years of hosting the event over $44,000 has been raised, putting NCC amongst the leading fundraising clubs nationally.

Although the playing opportunities have been fully subscribed at this point anyone interested in making a donation or auction item can contact tournament chair Danny Schuster at ditson35@verizon.net and information on Patriot Golf Day and the Folds of Honor can be found at foldsofhonor.org.

Wayne Mills can be reached at sports@nashuatelegraph.com.