Soldiers enjoy chance to play golf with pros
September 30, 2010
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- There is a new four-letter word associated with golfers: BOSS.
Fort Drum's Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers took 15 troops to participate in the annual Patriot Golf Day at Lakeview Golf and Country Club in Auburn on Monday. Soldiers got a chance to play in a tournament with golf pros at the country club and get tips on how to improve their game.
"This was a great opportunity for our wonderful Soldiers to do something different and also support a great cause," said Darci Michaud, BOSS program adviser. "It was an honor to have our Soldiers represent the 10th Mountain Division (LI) at Patriot Golf Day. They did a great job and enjoyed themselves immensely.
"And although the weather didn't fully cooperate, everyone had a great time and the professionals at Lakeview went all out to make the Soldiers feel appreciated," she added.
Patriot Golf Day is the flagship fundraiser for the Folds of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides postsecondary education scholarships for children and spouses of military men and women disabled or killed while serving. Folds of Honor is a charitable organization with a mission to empower deserving military Families with educational support and opportunities.
The Patriot Golf Day campaign is jointly supported by the Professional Golfers' Association of America and the United States Golf Association.
The inaugural Patriot Golf Day in 2007 was started by Maj. Dan Rooney, founder of the Folds of Honor Foundation, an F-16 pilot, PGA professional and USGA member. Rooney has served three combat tours in Iraq.
Rooney asked golfers to add one dollar to their greens fees. His request resulted in donations of more than $1.1 million from more than 3,200 golf facilities. In the last three years, golfers nationwide have been instrumental in raising more than $5.3 million through Patriot Golf Day events.
"We wanted to give back to the Soldiers for all they do for the country," said Alan Seamans, PGA Central New York Section executive director. "We felt this is the least we could do for them. Overall, the turnout was good. A lot of support, not only from the people here today but throughout the season, has gone into this day. This is our year-end event, and we just want to show the Soldiers how much we appreciate them as they continue to serve."
"The reason we do this is because freedom isn't free," said Tony Biata, Lakeview Golf and Country Club head golf professional. "The Soldiers were great. It was great having them here and they have such a great attitude. They understand how precious life is, how precious freedom is, so we do this all for them.
"They had a great time, and I look forward to the day when they can all come home," he added.
The following Soldiers participated in Patriot Golf Day: Staff Sgt. Michael Benvenudo, Cpl. Kevin Cockrill, Spc. Tim Berger and Spc. Ryan Dempsey, all of 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment; Staff Sgt. Jon R. Hernandez, Sgt. Austin Pierce, Spc. Adison Parker and Pfc. Matthew Pentz, all of 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment; Capt. Marc Cleveland, Capt. Jake Michaud and Sgt. 1st Class George Birth, all of 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment; and Spc. Garrett Lindsey, Spc. David Serna, Pfc. Jake Koshinski and Pfc. Alexander Palaniuk, all of 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment.
"I am excited that Fort Drum goes out of its way to give out these wonderful opportunities to the single Soldiers and provide a great opportunity to be a part of events like today," Koshinski said. "These chances are rare and when we get to do this it means a lot.
"BOSS is always planning trips to do different activities, and I would encourage the single Soldiers to take advantage as much as possible," he added.