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Archive for May 2015

Purple Heart Recipients will be Awarded Mortgage-Free Homes this week at Colonial

FORT WORTH, TX – Since the early 1990’s, Tempur-Pedic has been changing the way people sleep with its revolutionary TEMPUR material mattresses; and during this week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, the company will also be changing where people sleep. In partnership with supporting sponsors Northrop Grumman, the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Humana and private donors, presenting sponsor Tempur-Pedic will be awarding mortgage-free homes to four Purple Heart recipients, through Military Warrior Support Foundation’s (MWSF) Homes4Heroes program. Bank of America also helped make the donation possible. MWSF is one of 11 official military homefront charities that are part of Birdies for the Brave, a national military outreach initiative proudly supported by the PGA TOUR.

The home presentation will take place during a special ceremony on Saturday, May 23, at 4 p.m. in the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost Presented by Northrop Grumman military-exclusive hospitality chalet at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, TX. In addition to the homes, each of the wounded service members will receive a Tempur-Pedic mattress and accessories.

“These wounded veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for our country, and through their service they’ve allowed all of us to sleep safely at night,” said Patrice Varni, senior vice president of brand marketing for Tempur-Pedic, an official sponsor of the PGA TOUR and the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. “That’s why it’s an honor for us to support the program by providing each of these veterans with a TEMPUR-Flex mattress set for their new homes, so they can have the transformative, restful sleep they need and deserve.”

All four of the wounded veterans were awarded the Purple Heart as a result of injuries they sustained in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Former Army Sergeant Joe Jenkins will be awarded a home in Warren, OH, thanks to Tempur-Pedic. Jenkins was deployed to Iraq as the head radio person in his platoon as well as the squad driver when a mortar landed less than 10 feet in front of him. The blast sent shrapnel into his face, arms, right leg, stomach and chest. He was airlifted and medically evacuated back to the U.S. He also suffered from traumatic brain injuries and severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the blast. He and his wife, Amy, have three children.

Former Marine Private First Class and Army Sergeant Joshua Henniger will be receiving a home in Mint Hill, NC. Henniger and his squad were struck by enemy mortar fire while serving in Iraq in 2005. He and other wounded service members were airlifted to Baghdad for surgery and then flown to Germany before being sent to Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he underwent additional surgeries to save his right leg from amputation. Henniger was finally able to walk again after three more months of surgery and extensive rehabilitation. He was then returned to full duty and discharged home.

Former Army Specialist Charles Stewart will be receiving a home in Waxhaw, NC. He was shot in the hand during combat operations in Fallujah, Iraq, when his squad was struck by enemy mortar fire while administering medical attention to wounded soldiers at a traffic control point. Six months later, while serving as a medic on a convoy from Al Asad Air Base to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Broomhead, his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED). The blast threw Stewart from the vehicle and rendered him unconscious with a broken jaw and broken nose. Stewart and his wife, Jennifer, have three children.

Former Army Sergeant Jason Rodriguez will be receiving a home in Gainesville, Fla. Rodriguez was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he and his squad were struck by enemy mortar fire. He lost his best friend and battle buddy in the attack and suffered shrapnel to his left knee as well as traumatic brain injury, which still cause him severe migraines. He was later flown to Germany for further treatment on his knee before being medically evacuated to Texas, where he received treatment for PTSD before being honorably discharged. Rodriguez and his wife, Brittany, have two children.

In addition to Tempur-Pedic and supporting sponsors, a number of local sponsors helped make the home donations possible, including MorningStar; Thelin Recycling; American Airlines; Lockheed Martin; Wright Tax Co.; Rule Steel; Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl; Hull Homes; Coca-Cola; Waterchase Golf Club; Michelob Ultra; Ben E. Keith; Frito Lay; Bane Machinery Inc.; and Living Earth.

The home presentation is just one of several Birdies for the Brave military outreach activities that will be taking place during the 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. As part of its support for Birdies for the Brave, the tournament will provide complimentary admission for active duty and Reserve military members, military retirees, non-retired veterans, and their dependents, along with one discounted guest ticket per day, thanks to supporting sponsorship by Quicken Loans. Discounted guest tickets are $20 per ticket for each day of the tournament. Military guests must show a Department of Defense-issued military ID or photo ID along with a military ticket voucher at the gate. Military ticket vouchers can be downloaded by visiting While at the tournament on Saturday and Sunday, the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost Presented by Northrop Grumman will provide military guests with complimentary food and beverages.

For more information, visit or


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Two combat-wounded veterans were treated like PGA TOUR players this week during the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, NC, when they had the opportunity to participate in Birdies for the Brave’s Callaway Warrior Club Fitting Program. One of more than 15 fittings scheduled to take place during TOUR tournaments in 2015 thanks to the generosity of Callaway Golf, the event provided the opportunity for these two American heroes to be fitted with their own custom set of Callaway Golf clubs, take a tour of the Callaway truck where clubs are fitted for TOUR players on-site, and get some tips on the practice facility.

“Knowing that organizations like Birdies for the Brave and Callaway Golf provide these programs to wounded warriors, even when they don’t have to, speaks a lot about the type of people running these organizations. I have been hesitant to try golf for years since my injuries, but my experience with this event has given me the confidence to jump into the sport, and I am excited about it,” said Purple Heart recipient Marine Corporal Garrett Carnes following Monday’s event.

Carnes lost both of his legs after stepping on a pressure plate improvised explosive device (IED) while on dismounted patrol with the 3rd Battalion Third Marines in Afghanistan on February 19, 2012. He underwent more than 30 surgeries from the time he was evacuated to Camp Dwyer to his time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. During his recovery, he made a goal to be walking on prosthetics by the time his fellow Marines returned home from their deployment. After only six weeks of physical therapy, Carnes greeted his returning comrades standing on the tarmac. Carnes resides in Mooresville, NC, with his wife and son.

Joining Carnes in the fitting was fellow Purple Heart recipient Air Force Senior Airman Aubrey Hand III. Hand was left with traumatic brain injuries, severe nerve damage, a fractured heel and PTSD after an IED was detonated under his vehicle while on a route and culvert clearance mission with the 440th Security Forces Squadron in Afghanistan on August 11, 2012. Despite his injuries, Hand provided assistance to others in the vehicle, checked for secondary devices and helped pull the gunner from the vehicle. Hand resides in Tega Cay, SC, with his wife and newborn son.

“This was truly a fantastic experience with these two remarkable warriors, who showed all of us the definition of courage and perseverance,” said Callaway Golf Outside Sales Representative, North Carolina Territory Rich Calderon. “I can’t explain how gratifying it was to see how much they enjoyed the fitting. We are honored to work in partnership with the PGA TOUR and Birdies for the Brave to express our sincere gratitude and give something back to these courageous American heroes, who have sacrificed so much to help keep America safe and free.”

The Callaway Warrior Club Fitting program is just one of many military outreach initiatives that are part of Birdies for the Brave, a military outreach initiative dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the courageous members of our U.S. Armed Forces and their families. Named in 2012 by the White House one of the top 20 charities that support military families, Birdies for the Brave was created in 2006 by PGA TOUR player Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, to support combat-wounded veterans. The PGA TOUR subsequently adopted Birdies for the Brave, and expanded it to include a wide variety of military outreach and appreciation efforts during PGA TOUR tournaments, as well as fundraising events conducted at the TOUR’s TPC Network of clubs – an effort that has raised more than $14 million for 11 military homefront groups that are supported by TOUR players. To learn more or make a donation, visit or follow them on Facebook.

Operation Shower teams up with THE PLAYERS Championship, Birdies for the Brave

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL – THE PLAYERS Championship will continue its long-standing support for military families by joining with Birdies for the Brave to host an Operation Shower group baby shower for 40 local military moms-to-be whose spouses are deployed members of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. The event will take place on Sunday, May 3, from 12-2 p.m. in the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost military-exclusive hospitality chalet located near the 16th tee of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.

Sponsored by THE PLAYERS with support from Chicco and TPC Sawgrass, the “Love is in Bloom”-themed event will be hosted by Tabitha Furyk, wife of PGA TOUR player Jim Furyk. Festivities will include lunch, prize giveaways, a performance by rising Nashville singer/songwriter Cali Rodi and an opportunity for the moms to share camaraderie and gain support from other military women in the same situation. The highlight of the event will be the presentation of Operation Shower’s signature “Shower In A Box.” Each mom will receive a box containing an array of unique, high-quality products and gift items for mothers and babies that have been generously donated by companies including Carousel Designs and Chicco.

“For military women who are expecting a baby and whose spouses are deployed or soon to be deployed, the impending arrival of a child can be both exciting and stressful,” said Operation Shower Founder and Chief Shower Officer LeAnn Morrissey. “Operation Shower was created specifically to honor these courageous military moms for all they do at home that enables their spouses to proudly serve our country.”

In addition to Tabitha Furyk, special guests participating in the shower will include Marine Sgt. Major Bryan Battaglia, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Lisa; Naval Station Mayport Commanding Officer Captain Wes McCall and his wife, Reyna; Naval Air Station Jacksonville Commanding Officer Captain Howard Wanamaker and his wife, Teri; and PGA TOUR player Billy Hurley III and his wife, Heather. As part of Billy Hurley’s relationship with Valspar Paint, the Hurleys will present each of the moms-to-be participating in this event with paint to be used in decorating their nurseries. Valspar will also provide paint to honorees at four additional Operation Shower events in 2015, with 2 gallons donated for every birdie and eagle Hurley makes during competition this season. In addition, Hurley will carry a custom red, white and blue Valspar Paint golf bag during all his TOUR events to show support and appreciation for our nation’s heroes and their families.

Supporting our military is a concept very close to Hurley’s heart. The first graduate of the United States Naval Academy to become a member of the PGA TOUR as well as the only active TOUR player who has served in the military, Hurley gives back by supporting Birdies for the Brave – a national military outreach initiative proudly supported by the PGA TOUR, which is dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the courageous members of our U.S. Armed Forces and their families.

Hurley is a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Quantitative Economics and was named an Academic All-American. From 2007 to 2009, he served a tour of duty in the Persian Gulf aboard the destroyer USS Chung-Hoon. He returned to professional golf following his retirement from the Navy, and earned his PGA TOUR card by finishing 25th on the 2011 Tour Money List.

Established in 2007, Operation Shower ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and honoring military families by providing joyful baby showers for military moms-to-be to ease the stress of deployment. During the event at THE PLAYERS, Operation Shower will mark a milestone by hosting its 58th shower (34th in collaboration with the TOUR) and honoring its 2,500th military mom from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard. Operation Shower events are traditionally held on military bases, during PGA TOUR tournaments, and at other locations.

Birdies for the Brave was originally created in 2006 by PGA TOUR player Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, to support combat-injured troops. The PGA TOUR subsequently adopted Birdies for the Brave, and since then has raised more than $14.6 million for military homefront charities that provide critical programs and services to meet the specialized needs of wounded warriors and military families. For more information or to make a donation, please visit or follow them on Facebook.

For tickets to THE PLAYERS and more information, please visit www.PGATOUR.COM/THEPLAYERS.