This April, Kensington Golf & Country Club held its 11th Annual Salute to SWFL Veterans Golf Tournament, raising a record-breaking $160,000 for Home Base Florida. The event has totaled over $1 Million raised in its 11 year tenure.
Thirty 4-some golf teams competed, and each was paired with a Florida Veteran making the group a 5-some. The day kicked off with an opening ceremony, followed by lunch before the 1 pm shotgun start. The evening ended with a dinner and closing ceremony, at which 2 Home Base participants shared their stories of hope and resilience through the care they received at Home Base Florida.
Louis D’Angelo, Army Veteran and Purple Heart recipient, joined the Army at age 25 to serve his country and have a career. He deployed to Iraq after the attacks of 9/11/2001 and suffered injuries from a rocket propelled grenade on his first day of duty. He also endured an IED explosion, which claimed the lives of 16 of his fellow soldiers. This event left Louis with deep guilt, and ultimately, Post Traumatic Stress. When he returned, he coped with substance use, endured many physical ailments, and struggled to return to civilian life. After moving to Naples, FL in 2014, he attended the Kensington golf tournament with a friend, which is where he learned about Home Base’s programs. Louis originally participated in Warrior Health and Fitness, and in 2017, he attended the Intensive Clinical Program. Louis says he uses the skills he learned at Home Base today and credits the care he received with saving his life.
Matt Loebs served 17 years in the US Army as a Chemical Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive specialist and later transitioned into a Comat Engineer. Matt served in combat in Iraq, an experience that haunted him as his troops were under constant fire and many fell in battle. He says he learned to emotionally detach so he could carry out his mission. Matt also suffered from survivors’ guild as his childhood best friend died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on a mission that Matt himself approved. Along with his long-term physical ailments, Matt also suffered from PTS, depression, and anxiety. He faced many challenges returning to civilian life, including entering into a blended family, new marriage, and new career – many of which triggered his anxiety and depression even further. Matt was connected to Home Base as a US Army Reservist and ultimately participated in the Intensive Clinical Program in 2018. He gained tools and skills to help him cope and return to civilian life, and even still attends weekly outpatient therapy in Florida. Matt says Home Base continues to save his life and gave him his “happy ending”.
Many thanks to our partners at Kensington Golf & Country Club for your steadfast support through this annual event. The funds raised at Kensington help heroes like Louis and Matt find the healing they need and deserve.