The Second Annual American Legion Heroes to Hometowns Golf Classic teed off Oct. 1, already knowing who the winners would be: the children of U.S. military personnel killed on duty since 9/11. It's these children who stand to benefit from The American Legion Legacy Scholarship fund, which is receiving $33,000 raised by the golfing event at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington. The donation total more than doubled last year's amount.
Seventy-four players – two more than the course's official capacity – took part in this year's event. A foursome from the Department of Virginia won the tournament, which paired wounded warriors with potential employers, including members of The American Legion Business Task Force, a component of the Legion's Economic Commission.
Members of the task force, corporate executives and American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill paired with no fewer than 15 wounded warriors from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other veterans. Addressing the House last week, Congressman David Loebsack (D-Iowa) praised the event.
"This golf classic is just one more example of the incredible work that the American Legion does on behalf of our veterans and military families," said Loebsack, a former political science professor at Cornell College.
The tournament benefits veterans and their families on a number of fronts.
First, it puts wounded veterans seeking new careers into the company of potential employers. Second, it allows those veterans and Legion supporters to raise money to help families who have lost loved ones in the global war on terrorism. Third, it raises awareness of Heroes to Hometowns, a national transition-assistance program of The American Legion's Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division.
"There is promotional value, and there is employment value to these wounded warriors," said Joe Sharpe, director of the Legion's Economic Division, which helps coordinate the event. "They get to network with employers and corporate sponsors."
Business Task Force members and their companies contributed money for the scholarship fund, sponsored wounded warriors as players and donated prizes for the tournament.
Representing the Department of Virginia, Wayne Sealock, Bud Carter, Mike Bromley and Dan Wilson shot a 59 to take home first place. Finishing runner-up was a foursome of two wounded warriors from Walter Reed – Rafael Delgado and Laura Pac – and Greg Casten and Tony Cibel from Fidelis Partners. In third was another team from the Department of Virginia: Dan Dellinger (Economic Chairman), Bill McGinty, Mark Walters and R. Hodgens.
Arturo Rivera (Department of D.C.) won the closest to the pin award. Delgado had the longest drive.