A Decade of Golf ‘Fore’ Southwest Florida Veterans

Home Base is deeply grateful for all those who have donated time, treasure, and talent to support its noble mission. As a small token of appreciation, this new monthly “Donor Spotlight” feature will help tell the stories of Home Base supporters.

Although the 10th Annual Home Base Golf and Family Day at Kensington Golf & Country Club may have looked—and felt—different amid the ongoing COVID pandemic, this year’s event was a major success. Together, the committee, club members, sponsors and donors raised over $132,000 “fore” Southwest Florida Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families—reaching the incredible milestone of more than $1.14M raised in the last decade.

Since 2012, Kensington Golf & Country Club has hosted an annual scramble-format golf tournament with all proceeds from fees and sponsorships supporting the Home Base mission. After the 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19, the event organizers quickly pivoted to generate additional event day funds through a virtual raffle. Despite the cancelation, the event raised more than $100,000. With careful planning, the 2021 event was reimagined in adherence with COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. More than 100 sponsors and 92 golfers took part in the virtual tournament between February and March. Four golfers played in the hole-in-one contest for a chance to win $1,000,000 for Home Base SWFL.

“The Kensington community is very special to Home Base,” said Jason Cooper, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and Assistant Director of Home Base SWFL. “We are deeply grateful for the Kensington members’ longstanding, generous support of their local military community.”

The Southwest Florida region is home to more than 100,000 Veterans reside in Southwest Florida. Unfortunately, many lack access to much-needed mental health services. In 2019, Home Base Southwest Florida (SWFL) formally announced its expansion and clinical partnership with Lee Health, the largest healthcare system in Southwest Florida. Through this clinical partnership, local Veterans, Service Members, and Families receive world-class, evidence-based treatment for the invisible wounds. Previously, those seeking clinical care could access mental health services through Home Base’s two-week Intensive Clinical Program headquartered in Boston, MA.  Now, these services are available locally. Enabled in part by a decade of generous contributions of the Kensington Community, Home Base SWFL clinical services at Lee Health are provided at NO COST to Veterans or Military Families.

The generosity of the Kensington community also supports Home Base SWFL’s Warrior Health & Fitness Program, a free, 90-day program designed to improve the physical health and well-being of local Veterans.

To date, more than 1,600 have benefitted from the Home Base SWFL programs that the Kensington community continues to support, including Adventure Series, Outpatient Clinical Program, and Warrior Health and Fitness.

“Home Base is deeply committed to healing the invisible wounds for Veterans and their Families,” said U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and Home Base SWFL Program Director, Armando Hernandez. “Increased stress and anxiety due to the pandemic can have deadly results when combined with existing mental health injuries, so our work here in Southwest Florida is more important than ever before.”

“In 2011, the spirit of the community was identified when we raised a flag memorial at the club. Support from the community flowed in for Veterans and Kensington chose Home Base SWFL as the number one charity,” said Kensington Golf and Country Club President Bob O’Brien. “These men and women swore to protect us when our country needed it and our members feel it is now our turn to take care of our Veterans.”

As a nonprofit organization that operates predominantly on philanthropic generosity, Home Base is grateful for the support from the Kensington community that allows Southwest Florida Veterans, Service Members, and Families to access world-class care and support—at no cost to them.

To learn more about clinical services available to Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families at Home Base SWFL’s Outpatient Clinic at Lee Health, please contact Home Base SWFL’s Operation & Special Projects Manager Monique Hashimoto at homebaseswfl@partners.org, (239) 338-8389, or visit www.homebase.org/SWFL.