THE MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT TEAMS WITH CALLAWAY GOLF AND BIRDIES FOR THE BRAVE® TO HONOR OHIO-AREA PURPLE HEART RECIPIENTS
DUBLIN, Ohio (June 1, 2015) – For PGA TOUR players, having the opportunity to be fitted for clubs on-site at tournaments nationwide is par for the course; but for two Ohio-area combat-wounded veterans, it’s a dream come true. During The Memorial Tournament Presented By Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, OH, Callaway Golf continued its long-standing support for wounded veterans by fitting Purple Heart recipients Army Staff Sergeant Jason Gibson and Marine Lance Corporal Danny Ruck with their own custom set of Callaway clubs as part of Birdies for the Brave’s Callaway Warrior Club Fitting Program. The experience proved to be extremely meaningful for these American heroes, both of whom were seriously injured during tours of duty in Afghanistan.
Army Staff Sergeant Gibson was assigned to a dismounted patrol on route clearance mission with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan when he stepped on a hidden improvised explosive device (IED). The blast resulted in catastrophic injuries to both legs, a deep wound in the right forearm and the amputation of the tip of his left index finger. Following medical evacuation to Kandahar Airfield Hospital and then Bagram Air Force Base, Jason was treated in Landstuhl, Germany, where doctors worked unsuccessfully to salvage his right leg. Ultimately, his injuries resulted in the loss of both legs. He is currently a student at Ohio State University and lives in Marysville, OH, with his wife, Kara, and newborn daughter.
Also participating in the fitting was Marine Lance Corporal Danny Ruck. He was injured while on assignment as an Infantry Assaultman with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, Weapons Company, CAAT Platoon in Afghanistan in 2009, when his Humvee ran over a pressure plate improvised explosive device (IED). The blast lifted the Humvee 10 feet into the air and into a nearby ditch. Upon regaining consciousness, Danny provided security for his squad while his Corpsman treated his fellow Marines. Once everyone made it to another vehicle, pressure dressings were applied to his legs and a tourniquet applied to his right arm. Following medical evacuation to a hospital where he received medical treatment for his injuries, Danny was flown to Camp Bastion, a NATO base in Afghanistan, where he spent nearly three months receiving medical treatment and recovering. As a result of the blast, Danny was left with shrapnel in both legs and his right arm, second degree burns and a permanently broken lower vertebra and tail bone, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). He currently works in law enforcement for the Clermont Country Sheriff’s Office and lives in Amelia, OH, with his wife, Megan, and two children.
“Both of these American heroes embody true courage and heroism, and it was very gratifying to see how much they enjoyed this experience,” said Mike Girkin, Callaway Golf Company. “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 www.birdiesforthebrave.org or follow them on Facebook.