For some, golf can be a time-consuming and stressful sport. But for those who have confronted real trauma and stress, golf can heal. That was the theme at this year’s 7th annual Home Base Family and Golf Outing at the Kensington Golf & Country Club. The event, hosted by Naples resident 4-star U.S. Army General (ret.) Fred Franks is the longest-running fundraiser directly benefiting Home Base initiatives in Southwest Florida (SWFL). This fundraising event enables local Veterans and Service Members to participate in Home Base’s Warrior Health & Fitness Program in Southwest Florida and the two-week Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) in Boston, MA.
With the support of Kensington’s volunteer event committee, the initiative has raised more than $500K for Home Base’s initiatives in SWFL. That money has enabled 160 Veterans to participate in the SWFL Warrior Health & Fitness Program and connected 14 additional SWFL Veterans to care at Home Base’s two-week ICP in Boston.
The golf tournament kicked off at noon with the Presentation of the Colors and singing of the National Anthem by students from Barron Collier High School and ROTC, followed by remarks from Home Base representatives. “Because of efforts like these, we are able to exponentially grow our program. This year alone, because of the monies raised at this year’s event, we will be able to recruit 100 more Veterans to our local wellness program – at no cost to them,” said event organizer and Home Base Honorary Director, 4-star U.S. Army General (ret.) Fred Franks in his opening remarks.
In addition to the wellness program – and in preparation for this tournament – Home Base and the Kensington Golf & Country Club have teamed up every year to offer weekly golf clinics and lessons from PGA of America professionals – all at no charge to the participating Veterans. This year, 27 Veterans and 145 golfers hit the course all with a goal in mind: raising funds for local American veterans.
“The hope is that these sorts of interaction five local businesses and individuals the chance to give back to some of the area’s Veterans and Service Members who have served- and continue to serve – our country,” said Home Base SWFL Program Director Armando Hernandez. “In our five-person scramble, there is at least one Veteran on every single team so participants can actually see how their support is changing lives. You can see the people being served, and you might even know some of the people in your community being served. That’s a big part of it.”
Despite the on-and-off rain showers throughout the afternoon, golfers stayed the course on the green while their families enjoyed pool games, arts & crafts activities, food and drinks, and new this year – tennis.
During the evening, attending warriors and guests enjoyed a special dinner inside the Kensington clubhouse – as Home Base leadership recognized the efforts of those that have gone above and beyond supporting the needs of local Southwest Florida Veterans.