A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Golfers turn out at Devou to participate in “World’s Largest” outing to benefit Wounded Warriors Project

By Mike Rutledge

NKyTribune contributor

Many of the 92 golfers who took to the Devou Park Golf Course shortly after 9 a.m. today felt doubly blessed to be playing in the sunshine.

Less than two hours earlier, electrical storms blew through the region, making some wonder whether the fundraiser for the Wounded Warriors Project would happen at all.

For others, such as former U.S. Army Specialist Ryan Smith of Blue Ash, who suffered a traumatic brain injury from the blast of an improvised explosive device 12 years ago while on patrol in Iraq, the blessing was even more so. Smith, who was out of commission for several weeks after his injury, had his recovery aided by the Wounded Warriors effort.

“I think it’s good,” Smith, who now works in the information technology field, said of the event, minutes before the golfers dispersed to begin play. “I think anything’s good that’s for veterans’ charities.”

While recovering from his injuries, Wounded Warriors arranged for him to meet with others who had suffered similar injuries.

“It was just a place for veterans to go and discuss issues we’ve had,” he said.

Participants listen to event instructions from Dave Peru  before embarking on this morning's Wounded Warrior fundraising event at Devou Park's golf course. (Photo by Mike Rutledge)

Participants listen to event instructions from Dave Peru before embarking on this morning’s Wounded Warrior fundraising event at Devou Park’s golf course. (Photos by Mike Rutledge)

Event organizer and golf course general manager David Peru said today’s event at Devou raised more than $3,100, with all of the money going to the Wounded Warriors.

The larger event, touted as the World’s Largest Golf Outing, at all Billy Casper golf courses, has raised $703,597 so far this year, and more than $2 million since the event started in 2011, according to the event’s website .

The effort’s goal for this year is $1 million. Donations to the cause can be made through Friday at the website. Devou’s pro shop is also selling golf shirts embroidered with the Wounded Warrior logo, to help the organization that assists injured military personnel.

“This is the most important thing we’ll do at Devou all year, in my opinion,” Peru told the crowd before launching the event. “Before mulligans and any donations today, we raised over $2,500.”

The biggest donor team, from Kellogg’s in Florence, was Jeff Snyder, Derik Lewis, Bill Stevens and Erik Wilkin, who raised $740 in two days.

Many of this year’s participants were women, including Vicki Shinkle of Lakeside Park: “I work for the VA,” she said. “It seemed like a good idea to support the troops. They certainly deserve it.”

Norma Eilers of Taylor Mill said she participates in two or three such events a season, and the Wounded Warriors project is a worthy cause.

“I feel that they need the money we can give them,” Eilers said. “They fought for us. We owe them.”

Horace "Baldy" Snyder takes the ceremonial first shot at this morning's Wounded Warrior golf outing. (Photo by Mike Rutledge)

Horace “Baldy” Snyder takes the ceremonial first shot at this morning’s Wounded Warrior golf outing.

Also golfing on the beautiful morning were 93-year-old Horace “Baldy” Snyder of Ludlow, who fought with the Navy and then the Marines in the Pacific Theater in World War II; and his son, Ron Snyder, a Navy Veteran from Covington’s Botany Hills neighborhood.

“I spent three years with the Navy, and then I volunteered with the Marines,” Baldy Snyder said. “I was on a ship over two years and I came back to the States. I had good duty up around Boston, but I was nervous and wanted to go back overseas.”

The U. S. Navy, however, denied his request because he said it wanted him to recuperate for two years. After that he expressed interest in the Marines.

“One week later, I was gone, with the 6th Marine Division. I went through both boot camps,” he said with a chuckle.
Snyder, who described the Wounded Warrior event as “a great thing,” later was asked to take the first ceremonial shot, his club glinting in the sunlight as he shot.

Good swing, Snyder was told later.

“Nah,” he answered: “It went kinda crooked. “It’s all right for an old man, though.”

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment