Ride of Honor
April 11, 2011
By PGA TOUR Staff
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla.—As part of the PGA TOUR’s continual support for the Birdies for the Brave military outreach initiative, TPC Sawgrass hosted 40 wounded warriors from across the country in a special honor ride April 8.
The event was created to show appreciation to the wounded warriors for their service and sacrifice and to wish them well as they prepared to participate in the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride Jacksonville held April 9. Soldier Ride is a rehabilitative cycling event designed to help injured soldiers restore their physical and emotional well-being, raise awareness for those physically and psychologically wounded in battle and give the public the chance to ride alongside and honor those military men and women. The PGA TOUR serves as the Whole Ride Sponsor of Soldier Ride Jacksonville.
The Naval Air Station Jacksonville Color Guard presented the colors and Brenna Storm, a Landrum Middle School eighth-grader and former Director of Golf for the PGA TOUR Billy Detlaff’s granddaughter, sang the National Anthem in a military salute to the assembled troops. TPC Sawgrass, along with other TPC Network clubs and the Heritage Golf Group properties, conducted Birdies for the Brave nationwide fundraisers throughout 2010 that resulted in a $212,000 check presentation for the Wounded Warrior Project which concluded the official ceremony.
Unofficial activities continued immediately following, however, with several members of the TOUR’s cycling team joining the 40 wounded warriors in a 20-mile warm-up ride through the city. At the ride’s conclusion, the wounded warriors joined TOUR employees for a picnic lunch, which gave employees a more leisurely opportunity to become acquainted with and express their gratitude to the wounded warriors for their sacrifices.
After lunch, Champions Tour player Fred Funk, a strong supporter of military outreach programs, led a golf clinic for the service men and women on TPC Sawgrass’ private practice area. Participants rotated through three skills stations staffed by TPC Sawgrass and TOUR employees along with PGA TOUR veteran Len Mattiace, who worked as teaching professionals and instructors.
“The PGA TOUR and our employees were very humbled by the opportunity to host these courageous wounded warriors, who have given so much to ensure Americans enjoy a quality of life and level of freedom unmatched around the world,” said PGA TOUR Golf Course Properties President and Executive Vice President, Championship Management, David Pillsbury. “Our employees work diligently throughout the year supporting Birdies for the Brave, so it was especially meaningful for all of us to have the chance to personally interact with and thank these American heroes for the innumerable sacrifices they have made in service to our country.”
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