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Minuteman Golf Tournament: a hole-in-one for worthy causes

The Project Challenge Color Guard posts the colors at the 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee Golf Tournament at Del Lago Golf Course in Vail, Ariz., Oct. 30. Project Challenge was one of four non-profit organizations that benefited from the $12,500 generated by the tournament. (Courtesy photo by CeCe Perry, Wright Flight)

The Project Challenge Color Guard posts the colors at the 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee Golf Tournament at Del Lago Golf Course in Vail, Ariz., Oct. 30. Project Challenge was one of four non-profit organizations that benefited from the $12,500 generated by the tournament. (Courtesy photo by CeCe Perry, Wright Flight)

VAIL, Ariz. -- The 162nd Fighter Wing Minuteman Committee, the unit's community support organization, raised $12,500 at its annual golf tournament fund raiser here, Oct. 30.

Approximately 100 golfers and 20 volunteers donned their best golfing attire at the Del Lago Golf Course to raise money for four different non-profit organizations; Project Challenge, Wright Flight, The Jimmy Jet Foundation and The Family Readiness Group.

"We could not have asked for a more perfect day. The weather was exceptional, the course was in great shape and the players were very generous," said Matthew Brogen, golf committee chairman.

The tournament began with the Project Challenge Color Guard posting the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance.

According to Brogen, it was a great way to pay tribute to the country and also to serve as a reminder of the day's purpose.

Project Challenge is a preventive "youth at risk" program organized by the Arizona National Guard designed around an intervention model built on eight core components needed for successful living; life coping skills, academic excellence, responsible citizenship, health and hygiene, job skills, physical fitness, leadership and followership, and community service.

The Challenge program provides a demanding, military-based educational program in residence for high school dropouts who desire to succeed. The intent of the program is to produce young adults who either pursue further education or a career after graduation.
As the golfers teed off, volunteers transformed the clubhouse patio into a proper dinner and awards ceremony setting.

Led by Bill Valenzuela, a long-time committee member, the volunteers set up banners, tables and arranged raffle prizes and awards to welcome golfers at the end of the day.

Raffle tickets were drawn for prizes that ranged from two roundtrip tickets anywhere American Airlines flies in the continental United States, to a two night stay at a resort in Rocky Point.

Meanwhile another volunteer, CeCe Perry, with Wright Flight, was enthusiastically taking pictures of the golfers as they came by the clubhouse.

Wright Flight, Inc. is a non-profit corporation which was founded in 1986 in Tucson , Ariz. Their incentive program graduates nearly 1,000 local youths each year and turns lives around, "Helping Kids Reach New Heights" both in educational endeavors and personal development. Wright Flight understands the profound effect that airplanes have on young men and women and utilizes aviation interest to motivate kids to excel in school.

Out on the course, the par three holes were set up as "Closest to the Pin" holes to generate more revenues for the non profits.

Hitting a ball closest to the pin earned a skilled or lucky golfer half of the money raised on three of the four holes. The fourth closet to the pin winner received an A2 Air Force leather jacket donated by Wright Flight.

The holes were staffed by volunteers from the162nd Fighter Wing and Project Challenge Cadets.

"I was really pleased with the amount of energy I saw out on the course at the par three holes," said Brogen. "The volunteers who have done this type of work in the past really understood their purpose and it showed."

The par three holes alone raised more than $600.

After taking on one of the most challenging golf courses in Southern Arizona the golfers returned to the clubhouse where emcee Robin Stoddard of Wright Flight welcomed everyone, introduced presenters and handed out awards.

Col. Greg Stroud, 162nd Fighter Wing commander, spoke to the audience on behalf of The Family Readiness Group. The commander also thanked all of the volunteers for their hard work in preparing and organizing the day's event.

Family Readiness Group's mission is to plan, develop and execute the programs of Family Readiness such as, outreach, and youth and volunteer management that encourage partnerships and educate their Airmen, families and communities.

Four silent auction prizes were on display and Carrie Brogen, diligently volunteered her time to make sure that each item generated as much revenue as possible. The silent auction items also raised more than $600.

Chief Master Sgt. Nikki Uremovich spoke on behalf of The Jimmy Jet Foundation. She talked about the numerous families the foundation has helped and expressed appreciation for the money donated from the golf tournament.

The Jimmy Jet Foundation (JJF) is a non-profit Arizona Corporation serving the 162nd Fighter Wing members, their families and the Tucson community. The foundation is named after an Arizona Air National Guard F-16 crew chief, Jimmy "Jet" Bracamonte. Jimmy suffered a paralyzing accident in 1993. As a result, his home needed several modifications.

Jimmy's friends at the 162nd held a series of fund raisers in the form of breakfasts and car washes to help defray the modification costs. Wing members soon realized that there were other members in the unit and in the community that also needed help.

As time went on, more people began to volunteer their time, money and other resources to help others. Eventually, the JJF became a registered, non-profit organization and also received Combined Federal Campaign recognition.

The JJF mission is to assist unit and community members in need, more specifically, those who suffer financial setbacks due to unforeseen events in their lives. Since the inception of the Jimmy Jet Foundation, more than 280 individuals and families from the Arizona Air National Guard and Tucson community have received financial assistance.

Awards were given out to the following winners:

Third place honors with a score of 53 were given plaques for their noble effort.

Brian Karas
Billy Scogin
Tommy Riesgo
Bill Arnold

Second Place honors with a score of 52 were given plaques for their brave attempt.

Mark Cordova
Mike Arino
Aaron Cochran
Tom Arino

First Place honors with a score of 51 were given metal Minuteman Silhouettes for their exceptionally sharp pencil.

Marshall Brown
Tim Eggerman
Alan Scheurich
Phil Brewer

A new award was added to this year's tournament. The Most Honest Award was handed out to the team who obviously did not buy any Mulligans and did not use their eraser. With a score of 73 the following "golfers" were given a Billiards trophy and a $50 gift card.

Kieth Devine
Rudy Ormsby
William Garcia
Pete Smith

During his closing remarks Bill Valenzuela said, "The purpose was to raise money for all of the non-profit organizations and show support for the 162nd."

He thanked all of the volunteers for donating their time to make the tournament a success and he congratulated Matthew Brogen on a job well done as a first-time golf committee chairman.

Valenzuela said he would like to see other Minuteman members get more involved with the golf tournament and he would like the Minuteman Committee to plan more events for its members.

As the sun set over the golf course Project Challenge corpsmembers retired the colors, the banners were taken down, bills were paid and money counted.

"Through the hard work and dedication of all of the volunteers involved and the generous gifts from sponsors, golfers and local businesses, the Minuteman Committee and ESGR will be able to present a check to each non-profit organization for their portion of the $12,500 raised," said Brogen.

"Though it is not a lot of money, it will help carry on the mission of each organization to assist families and individuals attain a better quality of life. This is why we have a golf tournament."