This is on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have served in combat and came “home” different.
In 2003, I was deployed to Baghdad with the 186th Military Police Company. On one sunny beautiful day I took a trip to the “Green Zone” when the Humvee I was driving triggered a roadside bomb and was immediately hit with enemy fire. I lost both legs below the knee, and suffered severe burns on my arms, legs and back, and flash burns on my face and head. I sustained many other injuries and would face many challenges. I woke up 6 weeks later, only weighed 102 pounds, my vocal cords were 100% paralyzed, and I was tied down to a bed.
Since being wounded, I have been committed to helping others understand that they can overcome the odds, and that they do not need to limit themselves because of their injuries. I helped build the foundation of national organizations that are assisting our nation’s veterans. I have managed many international, national, and local nonprofit programs. I have been a national spokesperson for the past 12 years. I also take pride in saying I have been a keynote/motivational speaker at over two hundred events. This has gotten me worldwide media coverage; ranging from Oprah, Fox & Friends, Geraldo, to Cavuto, and to media outlets in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and France to name a few.
I am not telling you this to brag or get praise; I am telling you this to let you know a bit of my background. We must recognize our past to know our future. Now that you know a little about me I would like to share how much Fairways for Warriors has helped me. I have spent as I mentioned above, 12 years developing/managing many programs that provide a wide range of assistance to our nation’s veterans and their families. It wasn’t until I met the founders of Fairways for Warriors, Tom and Kathy that I realized all the programs I had created were a quick fix; a Band-Aid effect and not a sustainable solution for the multitude of challenges these brave men and women would deal with over their lifetime. With the average age of service members being 19-24, they will have many years to live with their new challenges.
Yes, there were great programs that offer amazing assistance but many of them were not ongoing, sustainable support. The veterans/families would have this huge amazing feeling that they received from the camaraderie at events or their lights staying on in their home or even the gift of an empty shell of a house. None addressed the HUGE hole that would be felt by all veterans when they lose their identity of being a soldier, marine, sailor, wingman or yes even a coastie. They lose that brotherhood/sisterhood. They love being with like-minded people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Fairways for Warriors provides a “Community”, a new military family. They provide opportunities for these men and women to be active and competitive through the game of golf. However, golf is just the catalyst to get members active and outdoors together no matter what their physical/mental challenges may be. It is much more than a game of golf. It is families coming together and recreating a bond that may have been fractured. It is bringing the “lost” into a group they can connect with. It provides these veterans of ALL ERAS and their FAMILIES a chance to support and grow together. It is moms and dads with their kids in a positive neutral setting playing a game that is changing their lives. It is helping mind, body, and spirit heal and helps us find our “NEW NORMAL”. For this, I am proud to say Fairways for Warriors is my NEW UNIFORM. I proudly sit on the Board of Directors as well as serving as the Fairways For Warriors National Spokesperson.