Vets receive $10,500 from Sun 'N Lake MGA
Allen Moody | Highlands TodaySEBRING - When the final totals were tallied up, the Men's Golf Association at Sun 'n Lake Golf and Country Club came through for area veterans in a big way—to the tune of $10,500. On Wednesday, Howard Umphress, president of the MGA, presented the Veterans Council of Highlands County a check for the amount.
Published: November 30, 2012
Published: November 30, 2012
"This will help a lot," said Cesar Pinzon, president of the Veterans Council of Highlands County. "We're getting more people into the Veterans Service Office and then they contact us when they need help paying some of their bills for food or something of that nature."
It was the second annual tournament that served as a fundraiser for the Veterans Council, although Sun 'n Lake had previously held a veteran's tournament.
"One of our board members, Mike Hurley, headed it up and wanted to make a better tournament of our annual veterans tournament and convert it to a fundraiser," said Howard Umphress, president of the Sun 'n Lake MGA. "The first year we raised $6,000 and this year we raised $10,500.
"We hit a very supportive nerve and we're very happy with our members. They came across very well, as 194 of the 248 players were Sun 'N Lake members."
Harry Marsh, of the Veterans Council, said Highlands County does a great job of taking care of those who served their country.
"With this check we will have raised almost $20,000 to help veterans and that's a lot of money in this economy," he said.
While veterans receive help from federal programs, there is the usual red tape and delays, which is when an organization like the Veterans's Council of Highlands County can really make a difference.
"One example was a World War II veteran and his wife passed away," Marsh said. "Their two incomes were Social Security and small retirements. When she passed away—she had been receiving Social Security on a prior marriage—when she passed away there was no more money, so all he had was $409 a month to live on.
"We stepped up and paid his rent and all his utility bills for two months until the VA stepped up and increased his benefits."
Pinzon said the organization helps veterans of all ages.
"A lot of guys are young guys who are coming back from Iraq or Afghanistan and are tapped out," he said.
Marsh said there were some good programs for the younger veterans, but they often need a little assistance.
"One guy we sent to Massachusetts to become a entrepreneur in masonry work," Marsh said. "He's doing a special kind of brick work and it's only licensed in Massachusetts. We paid his way up there to get to the school. The VA paid for his school, but he didn't have transportation to get there. Those are the things you have to do."
Umphress said while the tournament was definitely a success, the Men's Golf Association has several ideas on how to make the tournament even stronger in future years.
"We know it's a good cause for a good charity," Umphress said. "The veterans need all the help they can get. They're our first line of defense in this country. We're very proud of them."
Umphress said he was thankful to everybody who contributed to the success of the tournament, which was a sentiment Pinzon echoed.
"We're very grateful for the Men's Golf Association for raising these funds," he said. "It's greatly needed."
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