Lending a Helping Hand

Easter Sunday is a time for reflection and is quickly coming to an end. For many, it is a time of reflection and happiness for the wonderful things in their lives.  For others, it is a challenge to be grateful for the things in their lives. Yet there are some who need help and understanding as they struggle to achieve even the most minor of things; for those, there are special people who extend a helping hand and a leg up.

The PGA Tour of Canada and The United States support two of many important charities – True Patriot Love Foundation and Birdies for the Brave, respectively. These two particular charities are focused on supporting the brave military men and women who serve both at home and abroad. I am grateful to the PGA for their unwavering support to my brothers in arms!

The PGA also supports many other charities throughout the golfing year. Their motto “Together, anything’s possible” says it all. Virtually every tournament has an associated charity where the giving never seems to stop. Although the Tour receives most of the recognition, it is extremely important to recognize the thousands of volunteers who selflessly give their time and money to all the worthy causes. As a volunteer through the years, I am grateful to volunteers, who without, none of this would be possible!

Charity is not always on a grand scale and does not need to raise money. Sometimes time is far more important and a little help goes a long way to positively impact people’s lives.  If we were to look around our neighbourhood, there are places to help. Whether it be at the local school, church, community centre or sports team – charity of time is extremely important.

10256053_10152393304113552_833345085_nOver the past couple years, my nephew-in-law has coached the local floor hockey team. This team has thrived under his leadership and all the players are devoted to him and the team.  He continually provides them support, understanding and guidance which in turn is transferred into their daily lives. This particular situation is not uncommon, but what does make it unique is that the floor hockey team is part of the Sudbury Special Olympics. My nephew-in-law has explained how these players never cease to surprise him by their efforts and love for the game and each other.  It is truly inspiring. Recently, a local business, KGHM International where my sister-in-law works, stepped up to buy uniforms; their local financial contribution has made a tremendous impact on the community and the local athletes. Recently, a hockey game between Special Olympics Sudbury, now named the KGHMI Miners, and the Cops to Conquer Cancer hockey team was a huge success and great fun was had by all! Their inspiring story shows how a few dedicated people can make a huge difference in the lives of many!

Being grateful for so many things does not stop at Easter.  Whether large organizations, like the PGA, are focused on helping on a grand scale or whether a few volunteers make a tremendous difference in their local community, I for one am grateful for their efforts. Sometimes it does not take much to have a positive impact on someone’s life and Easter is a time for reflection and an opportunity to help.

I am a grateful golfer.  See you on the links!

I Got Nothing!

Attempting to write about golf every two days (as per my goal for this year) is sometimes very difficult.  There is lots to write about, but every once in a while the creative juices just do not flow.  Well today is one of those days!

I could write about the upcoming Masters.  The fact that there will be about 25 new faces competing in Augusta.  That, the world number one player, Tiger Woods, is out and most of the pundits are talking more about him not playing than the strong field heading to the first Major of 2014.  I could talk about the change to the Augusta National Golf Course due to the harsh winter, but the fact that the course is different does not seem like such a bad thing. Regardless, the Masters starts in five days and I can hardly wait.

I could write about the first LPGA Major – The Kraft Nabisco Championship.  How two players tied at minus 10 will be slugging it out on Sunday.  I could analyse the different approaches of Michelle Wie and Alexis Thompson, but that is an article in itself.  Tomorrow should be interesting as both players are poised to win their first Major and live up to their potential as professional golfers.

I could write about how the underdogs in the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament parallel the five first time winners on the PGA Tour this year.  How the underdogs in March Madness are punching above their weight like many of the journeyman players on the Tour.  How persistence and the desire to succeed trumps the teams with the better stats. Or how one player or one great shot can change the fortune of many!  But, apparently that is happening all over social media; so what is there to add.

Local Pro, 2 USAF Members, Local Businessman supporting the launch of the True Patriot Love Foundation Charity!

Local Pro, 2 USAF Members, Local Businessman supporting the launch of the True Patriot Love Foundation Charity!

I could write about the number of charities the PGA Tour (Canada and USA) sponsor.  As an example, the True Patriot Love Foundation which is a great Canadian initiative that supports military families. Launched in 2012 at North Bay, Ontario, Canada, it raises money for those military families who need a little support to continue to serve.  It continues to be a great success!

I could write about all these things, but today is a bit of a struggle.  Having said that, after I vociferated (had to look this one up – means ranted), it seems that writing about golf today was easier than I thought.  Writing about golf is sometimes less about the main stream headlines and more about what topics make the reader (and writer) think / question / obfuscate.  Golf is a unique sport (I have said this many times) that truly means something different to everyone.

For me, writing today is not about the endless supply of topics that interests any golfing enthusiast, but more about just writing.  Golf articles can take the reader down many different paths.  And given the choices in direction, the traveler path appears to limitless!

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!

Making A Difference In Someone’s Life

Making a difference in someone’s life as easy as smiling and saying hello! Sometimes, it only  takes a second change someone’s world.  Just listening or offering a helping hand may be enough to make a difference.  Any small positive token of acceptance can occur anywhere; even on the golf course.  Golfers have a long history of helping others.  There are many golf charities that raise money for the military, the homeless, cancer research, under privileged kids, and many more.  All are important and provide support to those who may need it most.

Each year I try to play in charity golf tournaments or events to promote worth causes. It is a great way to give, play golf and support many charities.  Last year, I participated in the True Patriot Love Foundation event in North Bay, Ontario and in the 8 Wing Commander’s Golf Tournament in support of the local United Way Charity.

Next year, I plan on helping organize some events because giving your time is as important was a financial donation.  I believe it is important that everyone gives back and if we can do it through golf charities, then why not!  The PGA leads by example by giving back all year; Together, anything’s possible.

On an unrelated note, but in the spirit of Christmas and giving, I wanted to bring your attention to a young 17-year-old Winnipeg artist whose video went viral back in 2011. Sean Quigley isn’t just a musician but is very involved in charity and social justice movements. When “little Drummer Boy” and its music video where released, CD’s were sold under one condition, “All the money has to go to charity” said Quigley. In collaboration with a local radio station, CD’s where pressed and sold out in a matter of hours. Their agreement was honoured and every penny made from CD sales went to an organization whose goal is to end homelessness and poverty in Quigley’s hometown of Winnipeg.  Enjoy the video!

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!

Helping Military Families

The True Patriot Love Foundation helps countless military families every day!  Last year, the True Patriot Love Foundation launched its program for North Bay, Ontario, Canada.  On 03 July 13, I had the honor, for the second year in a row, of playing golf with a group of dedicated civilians and military personnel focused on making a difference.

True Patriot Love Foundation

Former Canadian Professional Golf Association president Glen Cundari – 03 July 13

True Patriot Love is a national foundation that supports and honors members of the Canadian military and their families. It was founded by a group of citizens dedicated to building bridges between Canadian civilians and their military, in order to better understand and appreciate the sacrifices of soldiers and their families. In celebrating the patriotism of our military families, our foundation also strives to inspire Canadians to serve their country, whether it’s in or out of uniform.

The Nugget.ca reported: “Former Canadian Professional Golf Association president Glen Cundari, of North Bay, said it officially started Tuesday at the PGA championships in Markham, Ont., and will run through to the Canadian Open.  Local (North Bay) golfers donated almost $5,000 to the True Patriot Love Foundation through the Patriot Golf Day initiative last year with tens of thousands more raised across the country.”

At 22 Wing North Bay, the True Patriot Love Foundation supports military families with the most basic of needs.  Most Canadian military families move every 3-4 years; this constant change makes it almost impossible to secure a family doctor!  However, due to this amazing initiative, “Locally we’ve seen a tremendous impact,” Major Don Saunders told The Nugget. “Two years in a row the Patriot Love Foundation has donated $70,000 to fund our 22 Wing family medical clinic.” “The clinic supports almost 300 military member’s families and veterans in this area, serving 1,200 patients.” (Nugget.ca)

“I wish to thank the sponsors of the event the Professional Golf Association (PGA) for recognizing our commitment to Canada both at home and abroad, and my sincere thanks for the patriotism the golfers are showing today in supporting those soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen and their families,” said Colonel Conrad Namiesniowski, 22 Wing Commander.(BAYTODAY.ca)

As a serving military member, I am truly grateful for the True Patriot Love Foundation`s support to our families.  Our families make as much or more of a sacrifice everyday to help protect the freedoms we hold dear!  Thank you to everyone who supported this most deserving charity!

Special thanks to PGA professional Jeff Rogerson at Opsrey Links Golf Course for hosting this years event!  Jeff and his team did a fantastic job and we are all grateful for their outstanding hospitality!

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!

Too Much Respect!

True Patriot Love FoundationToday I had the tremendous opportunity to play at the North Bay Country Club (NBCC).  They opened 4 tee times for military members in support of True Patriot Love Foundation.  The NBCC, like other courses in the North Bay, Ontario, region such as Pinewood Park Resort and Osprey Links Golf Course, presents an excellent challenge to any golfer.  The course was in fantastic shape, the greens were fast and the fairways plush.  The sun was shining…..I guess you get the picture.  I am a grateful golfer.

Too Much Respect!  The greens at the NBCC constantly presented a challenge.  They are extremely tough to read, fast if you are not below the hole and most are elevated.  As I played the course today, I found myself extremely tentative and unsure of my approach shots.  I was intimidated and afraid to play my game.

Well after 5 holes, I decided that I was giving the greens too much respect!  So I decided to play my game, hunt for pins and focus on my strengths.  What a difference.  I started to take advantage of my opportunities and as a result I scored the same over par for the last 13 holes as I did for the first 5 holes.  So the lesson for me, and I suggest for many golfers, is to always play my game, stay focused on my strengths and enjoy the time on the links.

I want to thank the local courses for opening their doors for the serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces.  Your generosity is heart warming and appreciated!