(Page Updated 05/17/18)
To those that have supported (and will continue to support) the Golf Ball Drive to Support Our Military initiative thus far, THANK YOU. December 9, 2016, this initiative was endorsed as a Indiana Bicentennial Legacy Project.
To those that have (and will continue) to donate golf balls to this project … because of you, youth of all ages can leave their legacy of pride with Indiana servicemen and servicewomen.
To those businesses who agreed to serve as drop off locations, you provided the ease of those to donate at their convenience (all while shopping in local communities).
To those schools / businesses / families who have painted during classes, I look forward to your next project.
And to the local media (reporters, photojournalists, etc.) for sharing this story (so far), Thank YOU for being the voice to inspire those throughout Indiana (and the US) the importance of giving back to others and keeping your word.
My sincere thanks of appreciation to the following as listed on the seal of approval: First Lady Karen Pence (Bicentennial Ambassador); Co Chairs Becky Skillman and Lee Hamilton; Judge Sarah Evans Barker; State Representative Charlie Brown; State Senator Jim Merritt; and Commission Members Stephen L. Ferguson, Tony George, P.E. MacAllister, Dr. James H. Madison, Michael S. Maurer, Mary McConnell, C. James McCormick, Ellen M. Rosenthal, Randall Shepard, and Brenda Gerber Vincent.
How does YOUR school, business, organization, and/or family want to participate in this project to leave YOUR footprint on this legacy to bring smiles to those who serve our military? It is free … so read the initiative details below and contact me to leave your legacy today.
A project launched in 2008 is now three fold …
1 – Collection of New and Used Golf Balls and Golf Clubs in local golf tournaments used for servicemen and servicewomen rehabilitation exercises. (See Below)
2 – Collection of New and Used Golf Balls used to adorn personal messages of love, hope, and thanks painted by those in the community.
3 – Handwritten letters and cards that are collected for service men and service women in the Indiana National Guard and Active Duty Units serving in Indiana.
Project #1 Details:
Retired school administrator Terry Graves of Laurinburg, North Carolina (originally of Worthington, Indiana) wanted to do something positive for the troops stationed overseas in the Middle East.
A retired veteran, Graves found what he was looking for in an advertisement he read in 2008 in the Fayetteville Observer. A golf course in Fayetteville, NC was sending quantities of golf balls overseas. One of my Dad’s golfing buddies suggested he contact the American Red Cross for assistance.
Through the efforts of Scotland County (N.C.) former Chapter Executive Director Carol Ann Lentz (pictured below with Dad and I), Graves was put in touch with Phil Harris (below) of the American Red Cross Armed Forces state manager for North Carolina.
A secure space on a flight in December 2009 was arranged to send the first shipment totaling 2,380 balls and two sets of clubs for a shipment to Afghanistan.
“Locating lost golf balls is just a hobby, more or less. I have played golf since 1962, I’m amazed at the places I locate them. Sometimes I find them on the course, and occasionally there will be a ball still left in the hole. I found 148 of them in one day,” said Graves.
Wendy Dyer, former chapter director, stated this is “absolute morale boost” for the troops. “I was deployed twice to Baghdad through the American Red Cross, and I can tell you it’s a great outlet for the troops to receive these types of items,” she said. “It affords them the chance to take a break, hit some balls, and not worry about what’s happening beyond the walls of the base.”
Dyer stated of the collection “There were so many golf balls, and they were so heavy, that I knew it would be prohibitively expensive for an individual to ship them personally,” she said. “It was a tall order, but the folks that do the shipping (at Pope Air Force base) were thrilled to do it.”
Since then, the project has been ongoing. Graves plans to continue sending golf items through the American Red Cross for the Wounded Warriors Project as long as they will accept donations.
The latest Indiana Collection (those received from September 3, 2016 through November 11, 2016) will be transported to Ft. Bragg, NC on in May 2017. These collections were received by Phil Harris, Executive Director of the American Red Cross, pictured left.
Photos below are of American Red Cross transport of donated golf clubs and balls to the Marines and Sailors of Wounded Warrior Battalion – East to aid in their recoveries.
Handprinted Golf Balls (totaling 1,105) plus handmade Holiday Cards were delivered to Camp Atterbury on December 20. Thank You to these servicemen an servicewomen who accepted the donations.
(See you prior to Valentine’s Day for the next donation).
St. Maria Goretti Catholic School participated in a Valentine’s Card Drive as part of the Golf Ball Drive to Support Our Military. These Valentine’s, totaling 175, were delivered to Camp Atterbury on Friday, February 10, 2017.
Twenty-Three Valentine Card received from Chesterton Montessori School.
Click to view local News Features Below:
As of May 10, 2018, the following totals have been delivered to Ft. Bragg:
341 sets of clubs
128,210 golf balls