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Operation Shower teams with THE PLAYERS, Birdies for the Brave to host baby shower for 40 military moms-to-be

May 6, 2015

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.- THE PLAYERS Championship continued its long-standing support for military families by joining with Birdies for the Brave to host an Operation Shower group baby shower for 40 local military moms-to-be whose spouses are deployed members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville.  The event was held on Sunday, May 3, in the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost military-exclusive hospitality chalet on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. 

Sponsored by THE PLAYERS with support from Chicco and TPC Sawgrass, the “Love is in Bloom”-themed event was hosted by Tabitha Furyk, wife of PGA TOUR player Jim Furyk.  Festivities included lunch, prize giveaways, a performance by rising Nashville singer/songwriter Cali Rodi, and an opportunity for the moms to share camaraderie and gain support from other military women in the same situation.  The highlight of the event was the presentation of Operation Shower’s signature “Shower In A Box.”  Each mom received a box containing an array of unique, high-quality products and gift items for mothers and babies that were generously donated by companies including Carousel Designs and Chicco. 

“For military women who are expecting a baby and whose spouses are deployed or soon to be deployed, the impending arrival of a child can be both exciting and stressful,” said Operation Shower Founder and Chief Shower Officer LeAnn Morrissey.  “Operation Shower was created specifically to honor these courageous military moms for all they do at home that enables their spouses to proudly serve our country.”

Special guests participating in the shower included Marine Sgt. Major Bryan Battaglia, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Lisa; Naval Station Mayport Commanding Officer Captain Wes McCall and his wife, Reyna; Naval Air Station Jacksonville Commanding Officer Captain Howard Wanamaker and his wife, Teri; and PGA TOUR player Billy Hurley III and his wife, Heather.  As part of Billy Hurley’s relationship with Valspar Paint, the Hurleys presented each of the honored moms with gallons of paint to decorate their nurseries, and will be doing the same during four additional Operation Shower events in 2015.  In addition, Valspar Paint will be donating gallons of paint to Operation Shower moms across the U.S. for every birdie and eagle Hurley makes during competition.  Hurley will also be carrying a special red, white and blue Valspar Paint bag during select TOUR tournaments this season to show his support and appreciation to our nation’s heroes and their families.

Supporting our military is a concept very close to Hurley’s heart.  The first graduate of the United States Naval Academy to become a member of the PGA TOUR as well as the only active TOUR player who has served in the military, Hurley gives back by supporting Birdies for the Brave – a national military outreach initiative proudly supported by the PGA TOUR, which is dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the courageous members of our U.S. Armed Forces and their families. 

Hurley is a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Quantitative Economics and was named an Academic All-American.  From 2007 to 2009, he served a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf aboard the destroyer USS Chung-Hoon.  He returned to professional golf following his retirement from the Navy, and earned his PGA TOUR card by finishing 25th on the 2011 Web.com Tour Money List.  Highlights from his rookie season on the PGA Tour included a 4th place finish at the AT&T National and 8th at the John Deere Classic. 

Established in 2007, Operation Shower (www.operationshower.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and honoring military families by providing joyful baby showers for military moms-to-be to ease the stress of deployment.   The event at THE PLAYERS marked Operation Shower’s 58th shower (34th in collaboration with the TOUR), where the organization honored its 2,500th military mom from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard. 

Birdies for the Brave was originally created in 2006 by PGA TOUR player Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, to support combat-injured troops.  The PGA TOUR subsequently adopted Birdies for the Brave, and since then has raised more than $14.6 million for military homefront charities that provide critical programs and services to meet the specialized needs of wounded warriors and military families. 

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