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AT&T Byron Nelson teams with Callaway Golf, Birdies for the Brave to honor pair of wounded veterans

Danny Lee (center) with participants Jason Wakefield (left) and Justin Pullin (right).

June 1, 2015

Last week, the AT&T Byron Nelson helped two combat-wounded veterans emulate what it’s like to be a professional golfer on the PGA TOUR when it provided the two with the unique opportunity to be fit with their own set of custom golf clubs thanks to the generosity of Callaway Golf.  Part of Birdies for the Brave’s Callaway Warrior Club Fitting Program, the fitting took place on Monday of tournament week on the practice facility at TPC Four Seasons at Las Colinas in Irving, TX, adjacent to the Callaway equipment truck, where TOUR players are fitted with clubs on-site at tournaments nationwide. 

In addition to the fitting, the heroes had an opportunity to get some tips from TOUR players including Danny Lee, Sang-Moon Bae, Andres Gonzalez, John Rollins and Kelly Kraft, as well as learn how the Callaway staff works with each player to customize their clubs.

From left: Jason Wakefield tests out a club with Steve Mata from Callaway Golf.

“I am very appreciative to Callaway Golf and Birdies for the Brave for this opportunity,” said Purple Heart recipient Army Sergeant Justin Pullin following the fitting.  “It was an amazing experience and the fact that these two organizations do so much to give back is really wonderful.”

Pullin was severely injured while on a route clearing mission with the 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad, Iraq, when his tank was hit by an explosively formed penetrator (EFP).  Pullin was covered in diesel fuel and lit on fire, resulting in severe burns to more than half of his body and immune system failures which resulted in him being placed on life support for three weeks.  Once off life support, Pullin developed septic knee, an inflammation of the joint due to infection, and had three surgeries to salvage his leg.  He resides in Belton, TX, with his wife and three children.      

Joining Pullin in the fitting was Air Force Staff Sergeant Jason Wakefield, who suffered PTSD, ankle injuries, degenerative disc disease and chronic asthma as a result of burn pit smoke inhalation from training explosions and from an improvised explosive device (IED) blast during his deployment in Afghanistan in 2008.  He continued his deployment and transitioned to Air Force Reserves before being medically separated in 2012.  Wakefield currently resides in Fort Worth with his wife and foster children.

“This was truly a fantastic experience with these two remarkable warriors,” said Callaway Golf rep Steve Mata.  “It was very gratifying to see how much they enjoyed the fitting, as well as how much the TOUR players enjoyed the opportunity to interact with them and personally express their gratitude for their service and sacrifice.” 

The Callaway Warrior Club Fitting program is just one of many military outreach initiatives that are part of Birdies for the Brave, a military outreach initiative dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the courageous members of our U.S. Armed Forces and their families.  Named in 2012 by the White House one of the top 20 charities that support military families, Birdies for the Brave was created in 2006 by PGA TOUR player Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, to support combat-wounded veterans.  The PGA TOUR subsequently adopted Birdies for the Brave, and expanded it to include a wide variety of military outreach and appreciation efforts during PGA TOUR tournaments, as well as fundraising events conducted at the TOUR’s TPC Network of clubs – an effort that has raised more than $15 million for 11 military homefront groups that are supported by TOUR players.  To learn more or make a donation, visit birdiesforthebrave.org.

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