Veterans Week at Dataw Island: Featuring our WWII Veterans
"Veterans Week" is a very special time on Dataw Island. A time we remember, honor, and thank those who have served.
This morning's Veterans Breakfast concluded the week-long celebration of honor with special recognition of three very special veterans, Dataw Island members who served in World War II. These gentlemen: Leonard Christ, Greg Shorey, and Robert Walmsley, are true American heroes and we look forward to thanking them and recognizing their service.
All three veterans of the US Navy, each has a different service story, but all have some things in common -- their love of country and willingness to step up and serve. Whether serving for two years or thirty, this special group of men all humbly accepted the gratitude of those in attendance at the Veterans Breakfast, as attendees stood in ovation to thank them for their service.
To read a summary of their service history, please follow the links below:
More than 100 members attended this morning, which began with Jim Morrissey leading the Pledge of Allegiance and Katie McAlister singing the National Anthem. Mr. John Ferguson then gave remarks on WWII and thanked the special honorees. One-by-one they were called upon and stood proud as their bios were read. They were then presented with an American flag and a WWII pin by Naval Officers, who also spoke about what being in the Navy and what WWII meant to them.
The Dataw Singers then performed each of the Armed Forces songs and members were asked to stand when their branch’s song was playing.
In conclusion, Dave Luzzi announced the total donated to Tee It Up For the Troops this year…a generous $56,823!
The week-long celebration of service on Dataw Island started Saturday evening with Guest Bartender Night at the Pub, and continued Sunday with member volunteers lining the streets of Dataw Island with 3500 American flags in the Annual Flag Brigade.
Monday's celebration started early, with Chris Fearn's one-man Golf Marathon. Teeing off at 3:30 am, Fearn played an astounding 251 holes of golf before sun-down, all in the name of raising funds for our veterans, through Tee It Up for the Troops, the beneficiary organization. The day concluded with a dinner reception in the Gazebo, honoring veterans.
Tuesday morning's rally and golf tournament were rained out but in the afternoon, members and guests gathered for the annual Veterans Luncheon – a tradition that is a beautiful tribute to all of the veterans on Dataw Island as well as a guest speaker. This year's special guest was Brett Simon, the president of K9s for Warriors. K9s for Warriors is the largest service dog provider for post 9/11 veterans suffering from PTSD. After his informational presentation, which touched the hearts of those in attendance, the Dataw Island Quilters honored Simon with a handmade Quilt of Valor.
Representatives from the On Course Foundation recognized Dataw members for continued support, noting that Dataw Island was one of their first supporters and expressing how grateful they are.
The event, emceed by Luzzi, also included a silent auction, presented by Larry Beidleman, and in closing, GM Ted Bartlett announced an award given to Dataw Island members from Tee It Up For The Troops, given for all the support Dataw Island has provided over the years.
Luzzi summed up the week well when he stated emphatically, “It’s all for you, you are the reason we do this.”
“It really is motivating,” said Assistant Golf Pro Chris Fearn. “I’m always so humbled for the opportunity to serve them in return for all they have done for us.”
And, Fearn drew on that inspiration from the attending veterans, members, family, and supporters . Last year, Fearn was able to complete 227 holes, a feat that seemed unbeatable. Starting even earlier this year and playing with glow-in-the-dark balls and the lights shines by golf carts and flashlights, Fearn was determined to top his record - which he did, playing an additional 24 holes - equivalent to nearly 14 rounds of golf in one day, which included an impressive 42 birdies and 2 eagles.
“These men and women sacrifice so much for this country and they deserve our full support,” says Fearn, “Whether that is donating to a good cause or just simply being there for a veteran and telling them ‘Thank you’ for their service and sacrifice.”
To show your support, the Dataw Island Golf Pro Shop is accepting donations through the end the week.
Please enjoy the photos that follow, and visit our Facebook page to see more.