NY National Guard Members and Families Participate in PGA Military Appreciation Day Story and photo by Eric Durr, Guard Times Staff FARMINGDALE—Eleven New York National Guard Airmen and Soldiers rubbed elbows with some of the country’s top golfers-- and five National Guard spouses and mothersto-be got new baby supplies—during the Barclay’s Tournament Military Appreciation Day here on August 22. Thanks to the Professional Golf Association’s Birdies for the Brave program and Operation Shower, a group which throws baby showers for the pregnant spouses and partners of deployed servicemen, the Guardsmen and women and spouses got to enjoy a unique day at a worldclass sporting event. Birdies for the Brave is a PGA Tour Charities Inc. program aimed at supporting service members and military families. The charity raises money for veterans and military support. The program also provides opportunities for service members and military families to participate in professional golf events. The National Guard members and spouses were also honored during a ceremony held as part of the Military Appreciation Day at the Barclay’s Tournament hosted at Bethpage State Park August 23-26. The Birdies for the Brave program also offered complimentary admission to the tournament for active, retired, and reserve military members. The Guard men and women took turns caddying for pro golfers competing for a $1.44 million first place play-off. It gave them a great chance to watch expert golfers play, said Air National Guard 2nd Lt. Shannon Pingatore. “I’m starting to get into golf, so I figured it would be a great opportunity to come out here, meet some pros, get some advice, and of course, support the troops,” said Spec. Rachel Ruiz, a member of the 42nd Signal Company. It was exciting to be out on the course with the pros, said Sgt. 1st Class Armondo Torres, a member of Farmingdale-based Company D 1st Battalion 69th Infantry, who caddied along with two other members of his company. The Soldiers and Airmen also got the opportunity to meet Gen. Craig McKinley, the outgoing chief of the National Guard Bureau, and the first officer in that position to sit on the Fall 2012
Gen. Craig McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York, pose with five New York Army National Guard spouses who attended a baby shower hosted by the PGA and Barclay’s Bank during Military Appreciation Day at The Barclay’s PGA Tour golf tournament at Bethpage State Park on Wednesday, August 22. They are (from left) Samantha Hahn, Kim Antal, Jessica Metzger, Nicole Campbell and her daughter Savannah Campbell, and Jennifer Lyman.
Joint Chiefs of Staff. McKinley, along with Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York, visit the event to express the thanks of the military for the support the PGA has shown veterans. Nobody serves and sacrifices in hope of recognition, said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Lehman, a member of the 204th Engineers who was also one of the caddies for the day. But, he added “getting a little recognition and appreciation is nice.” While the Soldiers and Airmen were out on the Bethpage Black Course with worldclass golfers, five pregnant spouses of National Guard Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait were treated to a baby shower. The event—hosted by actress Melissa Joan Hart, who currently stars in the TV show “Melissa and Joey” was hosted by Barclays Bank,
the sponsor of the golf tournament and by the Birdies for the Brave organization. Forty pregnant spouses and partners of deployed service members—most from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst-- were treated to lunch and presented with useful baby-related items, including car seats. “I think it is more than I ever imagined,” said Samantha Hahn, whose husband Spec. Peter Hahn, is assigned to Headquarters Company of the 27th Brigade Special Troops Battalion. I’m grateful to the PGA for doing this for us, said Kim Antal, the wife of Sgt 1st Class Troy Antal, a member of the 2nd Battalion 108th Field Artillery. This is a great event for our Soldiers and Airmen and their families, Murphy said. It’s great of the PGA to do this for the military and their families, he added.
Fall 2012 Guard Times Magazine