Written by: Mary Chartier
This article first appeared on September 9, 2013 in The Villages Daily Sun
Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club
Labor Day weekend, golfers across the nation were teeing up to play a fun round of golf and, at the same time, raise funds for the Folds of Honor Foundation.
The foundation provides services and scholarships to the families of military personnel who have been killed in service to our country.
The Patriots Day golf tournament was sponsored by the Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club Veterans Association, David Blackston Financial Advisory, title sponsor, and Brown Golf at Eagle Ridge and host of others.
Over 206 golfers came together for this fun golfing event, an event that pits the Army and Air Force against the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
Registration started early Sunday morning with everyone enjoying a quick breakfast of coffee and muffins.
I walked around a bit, talking with several golfers, wanting to know why they were participating. I was not surprised at their responses.
To a person, they all agreed that it would be a fun day and that it was for a very worthy cause.
Then I spotted two younger participants, Drew and Kyle Blackston, and learned that they were the sons of the title sponsor of the event and would be playing in a foursome with their dad, David and mom, Andrea.
“Why is your family so involved in this event,” I asked.
“This is our home and we are just trying to help out the community and like to get involved,” Drew responded.
Drew added, “We support the military and everything they do. My grandfather on my dad’s side served in the army in France during WWII. My grandfather on my mom’s side fought in WWII in the navy”.
Opening ceremonies started with event chairperson, Jack Cherry, introducing Dave Blackston, who sang the national anthem, and team captains Ron Spencer, leading the Army and Air Force, and Bill Stewart, leading the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.
In a moment of levity, Ron reminded everyone that their team had been defeated by the Navy, Marine and Coast Guard team last year then said, “Today is the day of redemption”.
Ron followed that up by telling all the golfers, “I want you to go out there and have some fun today”.
During the announcements, Jack also mentioned that there would be several ROTC cadets volunteering during the event.
I spoke briefly with Belleview High School teacher and Air Force ROTC sponsor, retired Lt. Col. Terry Dickensheet about the cadet program and the cadets who would be working the event.
“The mission statement of the program is to develop citizens of character dedicated to serving their nation and community,” Terry said.
He told me that senior Anthony Beckzo, junior Alisha Stamm, sophomore Zakary Solgut, and freshman Zachary Stamm had volunteered to be at the event.
“As each team comes up to hole number 9 on each course, they will salute the veterans, pull the pins while they putt and put the pin back,” Terry explained.
After a beautiful day on the golf course, the golfers returned to the clubhouse and were greeted by the great down-home, toe tapping music of the Last Time Out Band.
Once everyone was settled in their seats, Jack requested all the veterans to stand up and be recognized. He then asked everyone else to stand and, “give a moment of silence to all those brave men and women who have served this country and given their last measure of devotion”.
Veterans Association Chaplain Jay Welty gave the blessing before everyone sat down to a delicious lunch of pulled pork and chicken-salad sandwiches, scoops of macaroni and cheese, potato salad, three bean salad, cake and ice cream catered by Toppers Tavern.
Anticipation mounted as everyone wanted to hear who this year’s winners would be.
Director of golf Dale Smauder announced that after a friendly competition between the services, the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard had once again taken the trophy, and that the trophy would be on display at the pro shop.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with heartfelt thank yous to all the volunteers who had contributed to the success of the event, chance drawings and a wonderful silent auction.
Tony Hagwood, general manager of Brown’s Golf, took a few moments to thank everyone for their participation in such a fantastic cause.
Thanks to all the hard work of all the volunteers, sponsors, golfers from Spruce Creek and surrounding communities, and generous donations the event raised over $17,000.
Club activities and events are for Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club residents.
Mary Chariter is a resident of Spruce Creek Golf and Country Club. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Pictures taken by: Mary Chartier