Golfers tee off to benefit AER
Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander and AER campaign chairman, gives words of encouragement and thanks to participants of the 23rd annual AACFCU Golf Tournament to benefit AER May 10.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 16, 2013) -- More than 100 people from the surrounding communities flocked to the Silver Wings Golf Course for a chance to play a round of golf for a worthy cause.

Golfers raced off the start to begin the 23rd annual Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union Golf Tournament to benefit Fort Rucker's Army Emergency Relief, during which participants had a chance to win one of two new cars.

Col. Stuart J. McRae, Fort Rucker garrison commander and AER campaign chairman, expressed his gratitude to all the participants and AACFCU for hosting the tournament, but also said he felt a bit upset that he wasn't able to participate because he was feeling under the weather.

"I just want to tell all of you thank you for coming out to support Army Emergency Relief," he said. "I won't be able to be out there to golf with you all because Mother Nature's pulled a fast one on me, but I'll be out there in spirit."

Last year's campaign raised $116,000, and AER gave out more than twice that amount in assistance last year, said McRae, adding that this year's goal is $125,000.

Mimi Brooks, AER officer, said that she's always happy to see when people come out to support such an important cause.

"It's just fantastic to have this kind of support from the community," she said. "Not just from the Fort Rucker community, but the whole Wiregrass area -- it's just amazing."

AER accepts individual donations throughout the year, but Brooks said it's events like the golf tournament that really help the cause.

"It's not just important to raise the money," she said, "but it's equally important to raise awareness for AER and what we do."

Brooks said that awareness is one of AER's main focuses, and awareness can help Soldiers in need as much as the money that awareness provides, and that's the goal of events such as the golf tournament.

Awareness can be measured by funds raised, and last year AACFCU was able to make a $15,000 donation to AER after the golf tournament. This year's contribution will be announced at the AER campaign closing ceremony June 4 at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at 2 p.m., said Lisa Hales, AACFCU vice president of marketing.

Hales said it's important for AACFCU to give back to Fort Rucker because the installation is where the credit union got its start.

"We have a branch here on Fort Rucker, and that's how we got started, and this is just our opportunity to give back to the Soldiers that give to us," she said. "This is our chance to help support and do something for the Army that does so much for us."

Members of AACFCU weren't the only ones that felt the need to give back. Civilians from the surrounding community, like Marina Jeffcoat, also felt the need to come out and show their support.

"It's just wonderful to be able to do this [for AER]," said Jeffcoat, who works at a local radio station in Dothan. "I don't play a lot of golf … but we participate in this tournament once a year and it gives me the chance to play and support a good cause. It's extremely important for people to show their support, and I support our military and appreciate everything they do."

Laura Thornton, civilian participant and friend of Jeffcoat, agreed.

"I think it's important to not only show our support for the military worldwide, but especially here at Fort Rucker," she said. "Fort Rucker is such a large part of this area and the Wiregrass community that it's important to support the causes that benefit them."

In addition to benefitting Soldiers in need, golfers had the opportunity to benefit themselves with prizes given out throughout the tournament for different achievements like closest to the pin, longest drive, and a hole-in-one, of which the prize was the golfer's choice of a brand-new 2013 Jeep or Nissan Altima.

Page last updated Thu May 16th, 2013 at 12:59