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Farmers Insurance Open hosts 'Suits for Soldiers' event

January 25, 2017

By Doug Milne, PGA TOUR Staff

Nowhere is it more imperative to be in the moment than in the American Armed Forces. For one serving in the military, the past is no place to linger and the future, at that moment, belongs to those for whom you’re fighting.

The job of the men and women of the military is rooted deeply in the often rigorous “Right here – Right now” philosophy.

Though, when these men and women complete their service, their future takes center stage. And, often, it’s a frightening, intimidating, even, step to take. Every thought, move and action up to that point had been motivated by the forward and free progress of others. Suddenly, these folks are looking to make steps for themselves.

And, that is a transition that wasn’t lost on Farmers Insurance Group. Founded in 1928 by a pair of World War I Veterans, the business of Farmers is to provide insurance to people, give them piece of mind and peace at heart as they take their next steps through life. The business of the military, they saw, was to provide assurance to people, assurance that the country in which they lived would forever provide freedom for them to seek out those futures.         

“At Farmers, we thought it was really important to come up with something we could give back to people who have served us and our nation so well,” said Jeff Dailey, Farmers Insurance Group CEO. “We are based in San Diego and this is a military community, so late last year, we were thinking about what we could do to help our military transition back into civilian life. In the next couple of years, more than a million men and women will transition from the military into the civilian work force. A lot of these veterans, not surprisingly, did not have suits for networking events, job interviews or work the job they may take. So, we started ‘Suits for Soldiers’ late last year.”

To date, more than 70,000 suits and business attires have been collected and distributed by Farmers Insurnace for men and women of the military returning to civilian life and work. On Thursday of this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, hundreds more will be given away at the San Diego Armed Forces YMCA.

“Charity is obviously a big part of what we do and our PGA TOUR players got behind this 100 percent,” said 2012 and 2016 Farmers Insurance Open champion Brandt Snedeker Tuesday at a “Suits For Soldiers” presentation at Torrey Pines. “Charity is at our core as a people, it’s what we do. The military is a big part of everything the PGA TOUR does. It’s a part of every stop we make. What they do every day is make huge sacrifices so that we can do what can make the living we do. We cannot thank them enough. This is just a small token to show our appreciation for all you do and for allowing us to do what we do.”

“This is such an emotional thing, said former Marine Billy Boulton, who was on site Tuesday to receive a suit. “You do so much with your job in the military and don’t expect anything in return. So, for them to come out and provide us with suits, it’s incredible. I mean, I’m in a career college. I need a suit. This is a big deal. Just the fact that we get recognized for the services we provide is a really big deal.”

“We cannot live the life we live in the United States without our military,” Snedeker added. “So, we have a huge place in our heart for that on the PGA TOUR. Being here in San Diego, we see planes flying over all the time, so to be able to get involved and try to help improve their lives is the least we can do.”

“We are here today to celebrate you and your service,” Tony Teravainen, President/CEO Support The Enlisted Project (STEP) said to the men and women of the military Tuesday at Torrey Pines on Tuesday. “If it wasn’t for your collective and individual service and sacrifice, our world would be a very different place. You have changed to face of our nation and the course of history.”

America’s Armed Forces are comprised entirely of volunteers. And, what they sign up for is no day at the beach. The typical life of a man or woman in the service includes a nine-month travel requirement every two to three years, with 50 percent travel requirements after that. He or she will log in a 10-12 hour work day, more when something important happens. They spend every third or fourth night at work, despite a full day of work before and after. They cannot count on days off. Sick days do not exist. Families will re-locate every three years, meaning children will attend upwards of six different schools. Spouses will endure an unemployment rates of over 50 percent. 60 percent of military families live off low-income wages and 30 percent of those families will require public assistance just to keep food on the table.

Despite all that, 1.1 million volunteer to proudly serve. Naturally, without regard to what may happen in the line of duty, knowing they will be taken care of at the end of their service is tantamount to not only morale, but often survival.

“Supporting our veterans is, I believe, our most important obligation and our society is, I believe, coming to terms with the moral and economic necessity of supporting our veterans, who have essentially put their lives on hold to serve our country,” said Teravainen. “Few other jobs, if any, require greater personal risk, sacrifice, family distractions, emotional distress, time demands and psychological impact than the job of a marine, a sailor, an airman or solider.”

The men and women walk into service donning the cloth of the country. They perform without hesitation the job they enlisted themselves to do. When they complete that job and return to civilian life, thanks to Farmers Insurance and the “Suits For Soldiers” program, more each day will have equally-fitting attire to step into as they walk on and into the next stage of assuring others – and now themselves – a bright and joyous future.    

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