“These guys defended the great country of the United States of America and it’s a pleasure to be part of their lives.
I can’t give enough for these people. These are guys, of all races and backgrounds, who defended our great country. When I look around here I see those who’ve served, during their military careers, and those who continue to serve in the capacity of a golf course volunteer. It makes for meaningful lives.”
Golf is mostly understood to be a ‘gentleman’s’ sport and the whole feeling around it is just the opposite of a war setting.
Administering a nine hole course with this kind of demand is tough to do in the current, second hand trailer that we use. Tripping over each other to help veterans isn’t what we have in mind for the future.”
“I want to have a feeling I’m doing good. That’s really important to me.
Out of sight, maybe, but never out of mind. Too often, however, it is out of sight and out of mind that we treat the men and women wounded in battles on our behalf. They’ve been doing, or have done, the work for us and in too many cases have paid a severe price. What’s our response to be? How do we say thank you with something more than words? Support our troops? Yes, but besides paying lip service to our understanding of the horrendous work they’re doing on our behalf, what support can we give that’s truly meaningful?
Let’s face it. While we were going about our daily lives, making money, raising a family, these brave women and men were answering the call of our nation. They put their lives on hold, took less pay, and left their families to serve us – we, the people.
I’d say to them: ‘Your gift will have almost immediate impact. It will telegraph to our veterans that you care, that you are thankful for the sacrifices they made, and that you want them to retake their places as productive citizens now that they’re back home.
But he understands that he could have been the man on the line, but that he was home making money…and you gotta pay for your right on earth. God has given us a yesterday and today and that’s a gift and we ought to think about that.” (Talking about those likely to give a major dollars to the campaign.)
Between you and me, of all the many worthwhile causes we support already or among those who currently want our money, you won’t find a better one than this.”
John Shalikashvili, General, U.S. Army (Deceased), CJCS 1993-97, Former Honorary Co-chair, Friends of American Lake Veterans Golf Course
“I am only one of the thousands of veterans benefiting from golf at American Lake. Unlike many veterans, I was lucky not to lose legs or arms in combat. But when a stroke left me partially paralyzed, the golf program at American Lake helped my recovery. Our new Rehabilitation and Learning Center, along with nine more holes, will give every disabled veteran the chance they deserve.
Please join me in supporting our warriors with a generous donation to our capital campaign.”
“I wasn’t excited about the walk at first, due to my arthritis. But I can walk nine holes now with the best of them. Give me another nine holes and I’ll get even better.
When a patient comes to the hospital, his family’s concerns are: “What can we do for him?” “How do we treat him now?” Countless patients who have come out of the hospital bring their families with them to the course. Here’s a guy with a sad face. His family hasn’t been doing too well. But when they get out there and start hitting the ball and start laughing at themselves, that’s when you say to yourself, ‘Yes, we are helping each other.’
This is a very big game for those people who are challenged by moving forward, away from those things that are behind.”
“I was going through rehab at the VA psyche ward for my post-traumatic stress and was told that learning golf out here was kind of a way to relieve my stress and anger. I could take it out on a golf ball rather than an individual. Out here I meet a lot of people that I can relate to, says Tuengel. Generally speaking people – civilians – out in the community are not those who can relate to a disabled vet. It’s a brotherhood and sisterhood and we kind of stick together. Veterans are family.”
“Like the doctors told me, it doesn’t matter what kind of injuries you’ve had, when you come out here you forget about your injuries for a couple of hours, you feel good about yourself, and you go back and tell some of your other buddies, Hey, look what I did today. It gives us wounded soldiers something to do besides just sit around and it’s great physical therapy. It gets the soldiers out of the barracks. It’s a huge morale booster. It gives them something to look forward to, to become passionate about. The friendships that you build out here – you’ll never find anything like it. We definitely need another nine holes. If you’re going to play more than nine holes, it’s nice not to play the same holes over and over again.”
“With my relationship to this place, it’s branched out now from playing golf and rehabbing to becoming a volunteer and helping out with this campaign. I want to improve my comrades chances for getting better at a place that did just that for me. And this place is just a good support network for veterans. A lot of these guys have helped mentor me. They’ve helped me and others choose good career paths. For me it’s gone beyond golf. We need a legitimate golf course. A golf course should be 18 holes. We have the land. Jack Nicklaus has given us the design for the new nine.
I would give money to this place because it goes beyond golf. We have a veteran’s community, similar to a co-op, with people who come here not just to golf but to create that community where others with shared experiences in war can find love and healing.”
“My sport had been billiards in taverns. But this place had what I needed especially in changing my attitude about life. There’s no rank out here. Nobody pulls rank and it’s really motivated me. Lord only knows where I’d be if it wasn’t for this place. Probably in jail. I’d like to show that person firsthand what good this place does for people who need to become productive, happy citizens. There are a number of them out there on the course right now who’ve confided in me that if it weren’t for this place they’d probably have committed suicide. Wounded veterans are broken items to the military. But not out here. Out here they are fully alive and well.”