FORT HOOD, Texas - Approximately 200 Soldiers were honored with a day off for a little camaraderie, food and fun during the ninth annual Ben Hogan Golf Classic here, April 23, sponsored by the Ryan Foundation.
“You serve us 364 days a year and we’re going to serve you one day,” Bob Stennett, chief executive officer of the Ben Hogan Foundation, told the Soldiers gathered at Courses of Clear Creek Golf Course.
Chip Graham, executive director of the Ben Hogan Foundation, said the annual golf classic was Stennett’s brainchild nearly a decade ago, believing that the late Ben Hogan would want his foundation to serve the Soldiers after all they have done for the country.
Graham said Hogan, who is considered to be one of the greatest golfers of all time, was one of the highest paid professional golfers playing in 1942. As World War II kicked-off, Hogan gave up professional golfing to serve his country in the Army Air Corps.
“He had a large impact across the world – not only in the game of golf, but in the game of life – because of the values that Mr. Hogan displayed,” Command Sgt. Maj. Cliff Burgoyne, III Corps and Fort Hood command sergeant major, said about the late golfing legend.
The annual golf classic grows larger every year, as they serve more Soldiers. The Soldiers participating in Friday’s golf classic received a day of golfing, games, gifts, free food, free drinks and for someone to say, “Thank you for your service.”
“He did it because it was important – he did it because it meant something to him,” Graham added. “The American Soldier was very, very important to him.”
Before sending the troops off to the greens for some fun, Roy Shaw and Sean O’Toole, of the Black Daggers parachute team, presented Stennett and John Ryan, chairman of the Ryan Foundation, with American flags they flew both in Iraq and over Fort Hood during practice the previous day.
While the parachute team planned to conduct a parachute demonstration before the golf classic, foggy weather cancelled those plans. Despite some cooler temperatures and foggy weather, Soldiers still enjoyed their time on the golf course.
“It’s been fun to get away from work for a little bit,” Sgt. Dyran Self, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, said about playing golf for the day.
After a day on the fairway, the troops were treated to pizza, prizes and gifts from the Ben Hogan Foundation and Ryan Foundation. Like Hogan, who always wanted to do more for the troops, his foundation pampered the Soldiers.
“Just don’t underestimate just how important and thankful we are to be living where we’re at,” Graham said. “The fight they (Soldiers) do every single day and the service they provide for our freedom – for the American people – just goes above and beyond, and we can’t say thank you enough.”
To find out more about the
Ben Hogan Foundation, including scholarships they provide to youth, visit https://www.benhoganfoundation.org.