By Tim HippsJune 27, 2016
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait (June 27, 2016) -- Despite being deployed most of the past year to Kuwait, an Army officer remains a front-line volunteer for his favorite hometown golf tournament in Akron, Ohio.
For the first time in five years, Maj. Tim Jenkins will not be a member of the volunteer mobile device squad at the 2016 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational, set for June 29 through July 3 at Firestone Country Club.
Jenkins has, however, continued to serve as a volunteer for the PGA Tour event by recruiting tournament volunteers stateside via social media and email from Kuwait, where he serves as a brigade intelligence officer.
"This is a way for me, even from here, to be able to give back to the community," said Jenkins, 37, a 17-year Army intelligence officer. "I've been around the world. I've been to many places outside of the United States and I've been all over the U.S. This is just a small way for me to give back to a community that I severely love."
This year, instead of silencing ring tones and stopping spectators from shooting photos and videos at Firestone Country Club, Jenkins is recruiting volunteers over the Internet from Camp Arifjan.
"We are indebted for Maj. Jenkins' service to our country, and it speaks volumes about his character and passion for giving back," Bridgestone Invitational Executive Director Don Padgett said. "Maj. Jenkins is continuing to positively impact the lives of those in need here in his home state of Ohio while he is on deployment overseas."
Jenkins also volunteers for "Birdies for the Brave," a national military outreach initiative dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. At the 2015 Bridgestone Invitational, he administered the oath of enlistment to 60 Army and Air Force recruits.
"Volunteers are the backbone of PGA Tour events," Padgett said. "We are always looking at ways to recognize those who help us run our tournament throughout the year."
Jenkins considers his dedication par for the course as a Soldier in the U.S. Army.
"I have a sense of duty, a sense of selfless service," Jenkins said. "I've been in public service for pretty much my whole adult life. One of the core Army values is selfless service. This is an extension of that. This is just a way in my personal life to continue to give back to the community."
In his fifth year of service to the tournament, Jenkins is a contestant in the PGA Tour Volunteer Challenge, a friendly "vote for me" competition designed to raise funds for charities while honoring the talent, passion and commitment of more than 100,000 volunteers nationwide.
Through 2 p.m. ET July 2, fans can visit www.PGATOUR.com/Volunteers and vote for their favorite Bridgestone Invitational volunteer. At the end of the voting period, the volunteer with the most votes will have the opportunity to present a $10,000 check in his or her name to a charity of choice from a list provided by the tournament.
"The PGA Tour Volunteer Challenge is a fun way to raise funds for charity and honor the contributions of the hundreds of tour volunteers who annually donate their time helping to orchestrate the Bridgestone Invitational each year," Padgett said. "We encourage our volunteers to participate in this worthwhile program, and ask their friends, family members and co-workers to visit the website and vote."
When he began volunteering, Jenkins originally wanted to get an up-close-and-personal view of PGA stars.
"Thought I might get a chance to get an autograph or something, but turns out that I found a whole new family," he recalled. "The Bridgestone family is 1,000 volunteers -- some of them you know, most of them you don't, but a lot of them I see year after year. It's like a second family."
Last year, Jenkins received an autographed golf ball from reigning U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson.
"I'm a fan of all of these golfers," Jenkins said. "I love watching every single one of them because they hit the golf ball entirely differently than we do."
Jenkins will just miss this year's tournament. He's scheduled to arrive July 5 for a month in Ohio before reporting to Izmir, Turkey, for a one-year assignment with NATO Allied Land Command.
"It's difficult to accept that I will not be there with my Bridgestone family for the tournament this year," Jenkins said while taking a break from watching "Breaking Bad" at Camp Arifjan. "Something that always comes to mind is being a part of something that's bigger than you. This event is huge. Annually, they donate somewhere around a million dollars to local charities."
A 2003 graduate of Marshall University, Jenkins played three years of soccer for the Thundering Herd before taking up golf about the same time he joined the military. He's amazed by the dedication of his Bridgestone Invitational peers, more than 40 of whom have volunteered for 40 or more years.
"It's phenomenal to see the longevity and the dedication of these people," Jenkins said. "Every year for 40 years straight they've been coming out to the Bridgestone. It's just amazing. The Bridgestone family is something positive and I'm certainly honored to be a part of it."