Swings for Soldiers Classic 2015

Monday, July 13th was the Sixth Annual Swings for Soldiers Classic and it is one of our favorite days of the year! This charity golf event was born in our home in Indianapolis in 2010. Jacob and I decided we needed to give back because we had been given so many blessings. We knew we wanted to benefit our military, so the search for a beneficiary began. As soon as we learned about Homes for Our Troops, we knew our charity had been found. They build specially adapted homes for wounded veterans and they have a four star rating on Charity Navigator.

This year the weather put a damper on the golf, but not on the event’s fundraising capabilities. We are so grateful to our many sponsors and 240 golfers that put up with the crummy weather! We are still getting the final numbers, but we hope to have raised at or above $100,000! WOW! Our cups are overflowing with thankfulness to everyone who donated and to our awesome event coordinators, Amanda Zachary and Julia Peterson!

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Jacob and I with our event coordinators, Julia Peterson and Amanda Zachary at the University Club of Kentucky. These ladies ROCK!

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Thankfully, the weather cooperated through the opening ceremony. Jacob’s aunt Susan sang the national anthem as she does each year. It gives me cold chills to hear those beautiful words and see the veterans standing behind her holding and honoring the flag. It’s certainly one of the best parts of the day! Jacob greeted everyone and read the rules to the golfers and they were off! We had a sell out on both courses at the University Club… what a blessing!

IMG_1185_2This little doozy of a storm blew in around 3:30pm and quickly halted play. The course superintendent blew the horn and sent everyone inside. We were scrambling to decide on what to do and how to keep the 240 golfers happy! Our volunteers (mostly our families) carried chairs inside and collected linens before they were blown away. We had people chasing pop up tents and banners as the 60-70mph winds whipped through the course. We had so many people offering to help, which was wonderful!

We usually have a dinner and live auction in the pavilion after golf, but since that wasn’t an option with the storm, we improvised. Jacob ran the live auction from inside the lounge in the clubhouse. The PA system wouldn’t work, so he stood on a chair and auctioneered as loud as he could to the crowd! The live auction brought in $17,000! WOW! I’m telling you, the Swings For Soldiers Classic supporters are simply amazing! Year after year, they come out and give generously to a great cause.

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Jacob ran the live auction from a chair in the middle of the lounge in the clubhouse! Gotta do what you gotta do!

We also had a silent auction that featured items donated from dozens and dozens of central Kentucky companies and athletes from around the nation including NBA, NFL, MLB and PGA players. Thank you isn’t adequate for how appreciative we are of all those who help make this event so successful!

IMG_1183Lyla was trying to decide which autographed jersey she wants to bid on at the silent auction: Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, her Daddy, or Julio Jones? Tough choice! Hah!

One of my favorite parts of the event is meeting and visiting with the veterans and their families. Each year we have added a veteran and their family and it’s like a big reunion each year! We’ve had the privilege of becoming friends with some true American heroes over the last six years. Chase Matthews, Kenneth Harker, Brett Bondurant, Jacob Lyerla and Zach Nelson are truly remarkable men!

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This year’s “family” photo

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Our 2014 picture… The Swings for Soldiers family continues to grow!

This year’s recipient is Zach Nelson and his wife, Kylie. They are the most precious couple and just got married this past November. Zach is paralyzed from the chest down, but he has the most amazing attitude! He doesn’t let his injury keep him from living life and I’m so excited for them to move into their specially adapted home later this year. You can learn more about Zach’s story by watching this video.

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Kylie and Zach Nelson with Jacob, Allison, Luke and Lyla Tamme

If you would like to learn more about the Swings for Soldiers Classic, please visit www.swingsforsoldiers.org.