By Sharon Foster
American Forces Press Service
March 4, 2009 - The Veterans of Foreign Wars will sponsor eight Purple Heart recipients who served in the Persian Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan wars in the Annual Veterans Golf Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The trip, May 17 to 20, will include free airfare, hotel accommodations and the tournament entry fee for each winner. Players must have a U.S. Golf Association slope handicap or be able to validate five or six of their most recent scores to be eligible.
Meals will not be included, and family members may attend at their own expense.
This will be the first year the veterans organization has sponsored veterans to this golf tournament through its Kahle Fund, Steve Van Buskirk, VFW director of programs, said.
"We attempt to vary the types of events we sponsor each year for our veterans," he said. "We have taken our guest veterans to NASCAR, the Army-Navy [football] game and the Super Bowl, among others. We also do antelope and pheasant hunts, snow skiing and other events for disabled veterans throughout the year."
In addition to the golf event, veterans will enjoy several opportunities to meet other players and an awards dinner the final night of the trip. Golf courses for this event include Black Bear, Crown Park, Founder's, Indigo Creek, International, Leopards Chase, Lion's Paw, Panther's Run, River's Edge, Sandpiper's Bay, Tiger's Eye and Wachesaw Plantation East.
Buskirk said he believes the event is a great opportunity for the veterans to unwind, relax and have fun.
"These events are small, but serve as a symbol of our concern for all wounded and disabled veterans," Buskirk said. "In addition to these events and activities, we do what we can to ensure our wounded -- both physically and emotionally -- are cared for."
For a chance to win one of the eight free trips, Purple Heart recipients from the Gulf, Iraq or Afghanistan wars must submit an entry form by mail in time for the April 1 drawing.