LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Last week, Callaway Golf underscored its belief that every day should be Veterans Day when it provided an opportunity for two local wounded veterans to be fitted with their own set of custom golf clubs as part of the Callaway Warrior Club Fitting Program. The event took place during the PGA TOUR’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. Conducted in partnership with Birdies for the Brave, a national military outreach initiative proudly supported by the PGA TOUR, the program is designed to aid in the rehabilitation process while expressing gratitude to our courageous American heroes for their service and sacrifice.
“Golf is an extraordinary way for wounded service members to heal from the physical and psychological wounds of war, as well as a great coping mechanism as they reintegrate into civilian life,” says Callaway Golf’s Rick Brisky, who conducted the fitting in Las Vegas. “We are honored to work in partnership with the PGA TOUR and Birdies for the Brave to express our sincere appreciation and give something back to those who do so much to keep America safe and free.”
The 14th of 15 Callaway Warrior Club Fittings to take place during PGA TOUR tournaments in 2015, the experience proved to be an amazing one for both deserving heroes. In addition to the fitting, the pair had the opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Callaway Equipment Truck where TOUR players are fitted on-site during tournaments, as well as interact with TOUR players Kevin Kisner and Derek Fathauer on the practice facility.
“Today was incredible,” said retired U.S. Navy veteran Ruben Cervantez from Las Vegas. “The Callaway staff really welcomed us with open arms and rolled out the red carpet. It was great to tour the trailer and see how they make world-class golf equipment right here at the tournament. I can’t wait to get the clubs and get out on the course and am truly appreciative to Callaway and Birdies for the Brave.”
Cervantez deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the 3rd Battalion 25th Marines, Lima Company. The unit was called to action at the Syrian border to help shut down the main route access for foreign gunmen and suicide bombers entering Iraq – where repeated improvised explosive device (IED) blasts and ambush attacks coordinated by Al Qaeda insurgents killed more than 40 Marines and Sailors. Cervantez came under multiple IED blasts in which he was rendered unconscious, resulting in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and leading to his medical retirement from the Navy. He currently resides in Las Vegas with his wife and four children, and credits golf with significantly helping with his rehabilitation.
Joining Cervantez at the fitting was retired U.S. Marine Corps infantryman and Purple Heart Recipient Joe Perez from Logandale, NV. Perez first enlisted in 1988 during Operation Desert Storm as a rifleman. His unit deployed to Iraq following the attacks of September 11, 2001, where they came under constant attack by mortar blasts and improved explosive devices (IEDs) as they convoyed through the heart of the Sunni Triangle. During one of the blasts, Perez sustained severe damage to the left side of his skull, a crushed spinal cord and nerve damage throughout the left side of his body. He was medically evacuated to Germany and then back to the United States, where he underwent multiple surgeries and a six-month recovery. Perez currently lives just outside Las Vegas with his wife and three daughters. He spends his free time mentoring other wounded heroes and helping them with their rehabilitation process through the game of golf. Perez is an honorary member at TPC Summerlin through Birdies for the Brave’s Adopt-A-Wounded Warrior program in partnership with the TPC Network.
For more information about the Callaway Warrior Club Fitting program and Birdies for the Brave, please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org or follow them on Facebook.