By Ms. Yvonne Johnson (Army Homepage)November 1, 2010
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - A group of Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed Army Medical Center got into the swing of things with members of the Aberdeen Chapter of the Association of the United States Army during its 2nd Annual Golf Tournament at Ruggles Golf Course Oct. 15.
The AUSA sponsored the Soldier golfers for the event, which benefits the Fisher House.
Mary Jane Jernigan, AUSA chapter president, said inviting the Soldiers already is a tradition.
"This is a win-win because the tournament will help the Families of Wounded Warriors who stay at the Fisher House while their Soldier is recovering at Walter Reed," she said. "And, golfing has
become an important part of the Warrior's recovery process."
She said the tournament included a Mulligan Dollar Match Challenge sponsored by the Bel Air Kiwanis Club.
When players purchased a Mulligan, which allowed them one "replay" swing per purchase, the Kiwanis Club matched each purchase with the proceeds going to the Fisher House.
Wounded Warrior participants included Sgt. Rafael Delgado, who partnered with his 8-year-old son, Giovanni, Sgt. Dewitt Osborne and Spc. Johnnie Gardner.
Delgado said his Family, including his wife and two other sons, are staying at the Fisher House.
"They're here going though the treatments with me," he said, adding that he has played golf since he was a child.
"At Walter Reed, I've been able to work with a professional who works with people with disabilities," he said. "Playing on a golf course like this with my son is something special and knowing that it's helping the Fisher House makes it even better."
"This is part of our rehabilitation," he added. "It's one-hundred percent important to us to have our Families here with us and it's nice to know this is something the armed forces added for our
Osborne is an Army engineer from Washington, D.C. He has been at WRAMC for 2-and-one-half years and Gardner, a transportation specialist from Nashville, Tenn., has been there for "close to four years."
Both said they would be medically retired once their rehabilitation is completed.
"I've only been playing golf about six months but I think it's really helped," Gardner said.
Osborne said they owed much to the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA), a nonprofit organization that provides rehabilitative golf experiences for combat-wounded veterans.
"We thank the SMGA and groups like the AUSA that go out of their way to help soldiers like us," he said.