On May 17, 2017 the Active Heroes’ fourth Enduring Mission Charity Golf Tournament presented by TRAKAmerica and NARCA was held at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes resort and it’s Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida. This event brought in 84 golfers, 25 volunteers, and raised over $75,000 for Active Heroes.
The tournament was played in a standard shotgun/scramble format allowing all foursomes to tee off simultaneously from different holes and for tournament play to end at about the same time for everyone. Along with the shotgun/scramble format, the tournament included a number of standard proxy events, such as longest drive, nearest the pin and several others, together we a few fun and unique contests giving all attendees the opportunity to make on course donations. Such included a Hole-in-One opportunity to win a two year lease on a new Audi; an opportunity to have a National Long Drive Champion hit your tee shot on a Par 5; and use an air powered bazooka type ball launcher for their tee shot on a par 4.
Long Drive Champion Bobby Brown, provided by Charity Golf International who sponsored the long drive champion hole, put on a demonstration and hit tee shots for those making donations to help raise money for the event. His drive generally stretched out between 450-500 yards leaving typically a wedge shot to the green for a chance at a double eagle and a trip to Pebble Beach. American Barrels Bourbon from Naples, Florida hosted a “Don’t Drink and Drive” hole, where likewise for a donation, players could taste samples of their bourbon and participate in a par 3 hit the green contest. If their tee shot remained on the green, their foursome won a bottle of their bourbon.
The fun didn’t stop there! Golfers could also make donations for the opportunity to use the golf ball launcher as their tee shot. The launcher fired the golf ball approximately 320 yards, and whoever was closest to the hole and made their eagle put, won a 7 day vacation getaway. All of these fun extras and the donations they raised allowed for over $10,000 to be raised on the course on event day.
“12 of the 18 holes had something fun going on other than simply a golf tournament,” said Ted Crawford, Chief Financial Officer at TRAKAmerica and event organizer. “This made it entertaining for everyone, those who were good golfers and those who were there for fun!”
TRAKAmerica presented its first two Active Heroes Charity Golf events in 2012 and 2013. In 2016 it re-kindled its support by establishing the Enduring Mission Charity Golf Tournament to help see the buildout of the Active Heroes national retreat to its successful completion. NARCA co-presented the 2017 event in conjunction with its Spring Convention at the JW Marriott in Orlando Florida. TRAKAmerica and potentially co-presenters such as NARCA or others, plan to host the Enduring Mission tournament annually, as long as they are able. When choosing an organization, they knew they wanted it to be one committed to helping our US Military soldiers, veterans and families in need. Their research was done and TRAKAmerica identified Active Heroes as the charitable organization who would give the most proceeds to the veterans who needed it; and that is how their partnership began.
“Our partnership with Troy and Mareike and all the folks at Active Heroes has been spectacular. From our initial conversation on, they’ve been very willing to help us help our veterans in need; and in a variety of different ways. They’ve shown us that nearly ninety cents out of every dollar we’ve delivered has gone directly to veterans and programs for those in need. The opportunity for us to help them build out their national retreat, help our veterans dealing with PTSD and the trigger points of veteran suicide; all with the aim to eliminate veteran suicide completely, is exactly the effort we want to support.”
Each year the feedback has been building on the very positive feedback from the year before. Those participating and attending the event are always moved by the different speakers and featured guests provided and by Troy Yocum sharing his story about how it all came together. This year’s featured guest, SGT Dallas Robinson KY National Guard, US Army World Class Athlete, 3 time US National & 2014 US Olympic Bobsled Team member, gave his own special point of view on what the retreat in Shepherdsville, Kentucky is doing to help our veterans and how much his association with Active Heroes means to him. With the help of all those participating in donations, sponsorship and attendance, the 2017 event was another outstanding success.