TUCSON, Ariz. --
Nearly 200 local service and community members braved the summer monsoons during a golf tournament to raise more than $30,000 for charities that benefit military families.
An extended lull between local lightning storms Monday, Sept. 12, gave Airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the Arizona National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing, a chance to hit the links at Ventana Canyon Country Club in northeast Tucson for the second annual Patriot Golf Day Tournament.
"After the drill weekend, our wing had a scheduled day off," said Lt. Col. Doug Hadley, a military representative on the tournament committee and an F-16 pilot with the 162nd. "I can't think of a better way to spend the day - playing golf for a great cause. This event generates a lot of funds that will help many people."
Patriot Golf Day raised funds for the Folds of Honor Foundation which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military servicemembers killed or disabled while serving. While it is a national organization, the funds raised in Tucson are earmarked to benefit two local students.
"It was very important for us that these funds stayed in our local community," said Paul Adamsbaum, tournament chair for the country club, "So we worked with Folds of Honor to ensure we could keep the funds here to help Arizona Families."
The second local organization to benefit is the Jimmy Jet Foundation - a non-profit Arizona corporation serving 162nd Fighter Wing members, their families and the Tucson community.
The Jimmy Jet Foundation assists unit and community members in need, more specifically, those who suffer financial setbacks due to unforeseen events in their lives. Other annual services include: scholarships for active and retired members and their dependents, care and assistance to hospitalized members of the community, programs for charitable purposes, and home renovations and transportation assistance for members and their families in need.
According to Adamsbaum, the inspiration for the tournament came while watching golf on television.
"I was watching the PGA championship back in the summer of 2009 and [public service announcement] came on the air for a Patriot Golf Day and I thought it was a great way to show our support for the troops in Tucson," he said. "We always talk about 'supporting the troops,' but this is a way to actually do it. We put the first local Patriot Golf Day together last year and it really took off."
In 2010, the tournament raised $18,000 for Folds of Honor placing the event in the charity's top ten most successful fundraisers in the country for that year. This year, Adamsbaum projects that the tournament will net nearly double that amount.
"We have a hard working board of volunteers with a real passion for this, we have the support of the course management, the country club members and we've had very generous corporate sponsors," he said.
In all, the tournament hosted about 100 enlisted, 40 officers, and 35 community members. Officers, civilians and guests paid $50 each to play the pristine course, but the enlisted were invited to play for free.
"That was our third objective," said Adamsbaum. "After helping Folds of Honor and Jimmy Jet, we wanted to say 'Thank you' to the Air Force and Air Guard, especially the enlisted members."
For more on the Folds of Honor Foundation, visit www.foldsofhonor.org/