Remembering the Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting victims at the Wyndham Championship
August 17, 2012
By Sasha Dusbabek, Special to Together, Anything's Possible
GREENSBORO, N.C.—The first thing many people might think of when they see professional golfer Arjun Atwal, at the Wyndham Championship is the fact he won the tournament two years ago, becoming the first player from India to win on the PGA TOUR. This week, though, Atwal returns with a heavy heart after a recent tragic incident, which is close to him and his beliefs.
Nearly two weeks ago, a gunman shot and killed six people in a Sikh temple located in Oak Creek, Wisc. Atwal, also a Sikh, was devastated after he heard the news. After much thinking and a conversation with his father about the situation, Atwal and his family decided to take action.
“I didn't know exactly what to do because I've never been in a position to do anything about these things,” Atwal said earlier this week.
Atwal and his family eventually decided to help by making a donation directly to the families of the victims of the tragedy. “I know it's not going to take their pain away, but whatever we can do.”
In doing this, Atwal not only hopes to help the families of the victims in Wisconsin but also hopes to raise further awareness about Sikhs in America.
Atwal describes the Sikh people of India as “very peace-loving, very religious [and] very hard-working.” “Sikhs in India are always welcoming people to their houses and very hospitable; that's our general nature,” he said.
In memory of the victims, Atwal asked for the support of other PGA TOUR players and caddies at the Wyndham Championship, inviting them to wear saffron-colored ribbons for the remainder of the week. Saffron is the official color of the Sikhs. Atwal provided the ribbons, which he placed at the first tee.
Because of Atwal’s actions, he is not only able to encourage others to help the families of the victims but to also educate people about the Sikhs themselves. In doing this, more people will be able to learn about the religion and ultimately, expand their knowledge about a subject that might have been previously unfamiliar to them.
The Sikh temple in Wisconsin has set up a fund for the shooting victims that can be accessed by the public through a website set up by the family of temple president, Satwant Singh Kaleka, who was killed during the tragedy while attempting to stop the shooter. All of the contributions will go directly to the families who lost their loved ones, those injured in the shooting and to restoring the temple.
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