Patriot Golf Day to raise funds for soldiers’ families

Tee off at Cream Ridge Golf Club Sept. 5

BY JENNIFER KOHLHEPP Staff Writer

UPPER FREEHOLD — This Labor Day weekend golf balls will fly in honor of fallen soldiers.

On Patriot Golf Day Sept. 5, a joint initiative of The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of America and the United States Golf Association (USGA), golfers across the country will have the unique opportunity to play to benefit the families of U.S military personnel who became disabled or lost their lives while serving. Proceeds from golfers’ games will be donated to the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships to soldiers’ families.

The Upper Freehold Township Veterans Committee (UFTVC) has worked in conjunction with the Cream Ridge Golf Club to sponsor a local Patriot Golf Day event 6:40 a.m. Sept. 5.

Since the UFTVC formed in May 2008 to help aid local veterans’ initiatives, various veterans’ support organizations have solicited it for donations, according to co-chairman Bruce Novozinsky. He said the council has had to turn most requests down because it is not publicly funded.

“We depend on volunteers for time and energy, and personal expenses to provide food for sheltered veterans, and transportation for their medical appointments and to pick up prescriptions,” Novozinsky said. “When this opportunity was presented to us by Mr. [Bob] Korn, we signed on right away because we could combine a love for golf with a charity that donates 91 cents of every dollar raised directly to an education institution to assist the children of slain parents. That sacrifice makes their kids our kids.”

Korn, an Upper Freehold resident who has been a driving force behind the Allentown High School Parent Golf Association in its efforts to raise funds for the golf team, approached the UFTVC about Patriot Golf Day as he wanted to channel the community’s love for golf into giving something back to those that served the country.

“He has been a constant source of youth inspiration and support since he touched down in our community, and this is just one of the many things he’s done — investing time and energy in a cause that will bring education to the children whose parents took the bullets for our freedom,” Novozinsky said. “Bob Korn and everyone involved in this local and national effort are patriots. The UFTVC are proud he asked us.”

In an effort to raise the scholarships funds for soldiers’ families, the Cream Ridge Golf Club, owned by UFTVC cochairmanWilliamMiscoski, has committed to requesting at least an additional $1 for each green fee processed Sept. 5-7. During the Saturday event, golfers will be asked for a suggested $20 donation in addition to their golf fees, which will go toward a donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation.

The club has scheduled five tee times for 20 players each beginning at 6:40 a.m. Sept. 5. Foursomes can be expanded. The course has been decorated with American flags and will feature games of skill.

“We are asking people to join us for a morning of golf. No prizes. No frills. No discounts,” Novozinsky said. “The end cause is the reward. We’ll never see the kids we helped. Never meet them. Never go to a graduation party. But we will give them a break and the knowledge that the country refuses to forget their parent.”

Major Dan Rooney, a PGA professional and USGA member from Broken Arrow, Okla., who served three tours of duty in Iraq as an F-16 pilot in the 125th Fighter Squadron of the Oklahoma Air National Guard, created Patriot Golf Day three years ago. After seeing Corp. Brad Bucklin’s young son and wife in mourning while the soldier’s casket left the cargo hold of a plane, Rooney acknowledged that he could not change the fate of a fallen soldier, but could change the future of a grieving widow or a fatherless child, according to the Folds of Future Foundation.

The inaugural Patriot Golf Day was held Sept. 1, 2007, and resulted in donations of more than $1.1 million from more than 3,200 golf facilities across the United States. In 2008, more than $2.1 million was raised at more than 3,800 golf facilities nationwide. In the last two years, the Folds of Honor Foundation has awarded more than 550 educational scholarships, according to the foundation.

Those interested in applying for a scholarship from the foundation, should visit foldsofhonor.org.

Those who would like to signup for the local Patriot Golf Day or who would like to make a donation to the foundation in lieu of attending, should contact Bob Korn at golferbob@optonline.net or Bruce Novozinsky at novozinsky@gmail.com.