A pair of wounded warriors have been able to secure homes of their own, thanks in large part to golf instructor Buch Harmon and his Harmon’s Heroes charity effort.
Harmon, who is a Vietnam veteran, created Harmon’s Heroes in 2009 as a way to reach out directly to soldiers wounded in combat and provide financial assistance to those with a qualifying need. On Veterans' Day, Harmon hosted a group of wounded soldiers and other golfers in his annual Harmon's Heroes Golf Classic at the Bali Hai Golf Course on the Las Vegas Strip.
The golfers playing with the veterans donated between $10,000 and $25,000 per foursome, with 100 percent of the funds raised going to the Harmon's Heroes Foundation. As a result, two veterans have been able to secure homes, one in Boston and the other in Texas. And plans are under way to help a veteran from Las Vegas get his or her own home next.
"Many of us have no idea what these veterans face once they get home," said Harmon, whose father, Claude Harmon, was a longtime PGA Head Professional at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York and also the winner of the 1948 Masters.
"Dealing with physical wounds is bad enough, but the financial hardships they face are absolutely mind-boggling and we want to help," he added. "And assisting them in owning their own home is one of our priorities."
In addition, a portion of the sales of Harmon's two-DVD set, "Butch Harmon About Golf presented by Titleist," is donated to the Harmon's Heroes Foundation.
For more information, visit www.harmonsheroesfoundation.org.
The golf industry, of course, is blessed with a number of charitable efforts dedicated to help veterans and their families. Some of the other ones worth checking out are:
--Patriot Golf Day stages golf fundraisers nationwide over the Labor Day holiday weekend, and you can participate either by playing or volunteering to help out. It is jointly supported by The PGA of America and the U.S. Golf Association.
--The Folds of Honor Foundation is funded primarily through the proceeds from Patriot Golf Day, but you can make a donation anytime. Folds of Honor is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides college scholarships for the children and spouses of military men and women disabled or killed while serving our great nation.
--The Salute Military Golf Association is another 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and it provides golf equipment, lessons and access to courses nationwide for wounded servicemen and women. Since ts creation in 2007, its volunteer golf professionals have given, free of charge, hundreds of lessons and clinics to our wounded warriors.
--Birdies for the Brave was created by Phil and Amy Mickelson to support troops injured in combat, and it is now a part of PGA Tour Charities. Golf courses nationwide stage a variety of fundraising events that have raised millions of dollars for military homefront groups that serve the specialized needs of wounded warriors and military families. Birdies for the Brave fundraising events provide golfers the chance to participate in golf tournaments on top courses nationwide.
--Tee It Up For the Troops helps wounded warriors get out on the course and uses golf events to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, an independent non-profit thar provides financial support for the families of military personnel lost in service to our nation, and for severely wounded military personnel and veterans.
Many other groups and events nationwide also support this effort. And while they’re not charitable organizations, many of golf’s most prominent equipment companies – Bridgestone, Callaway, Cleveland, Ping and TaylorMade, among them – donate a lot of golf clubs, balls and other gear, and work diligently to promote many of these great causes with no regard for credit or publicity.