Presented by the Lowcountry Foundation for Wounded Military Heroes, this year’s Operation Shower event at the 2019 RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing took on special meaning for one military family thanks to an outpouring of compassion from several different non-profits. Among the 20 military moms-to-be honored at the shower was Sarah Layher, who had recently given birth to her seventh child – and whose husband, Tony, is a wounded U.S. Navy veteran.
Tony Layher, a medically-retired Electrician’s First Mate, served nearly 18 years in the Navy as a nuclear submariner. As a result of two separate traumatic brain injuries during deployment on four different ships, he now suffers from traumatic brain injury, epilepsy and PTSD. Sarah has faced numerous challenges during her husband’s deployment, not the least of which has been serving as the sole child care provider for her large family. Since her husband’s separation from the Navy, she has taken on the added responsibility of being his primary caretaker. Her latest pregnancy while caring for her injured husband has been especially stressful, both financially and emotionally.
When the Lowcountry Foundation for Wounded Military Heroes heard about the family through Navy Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor, they arranged for the Layhers to be honored at the Operation Shower event at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. The experience was made extra special when the non-profit Angel Flight Soars became aware of the invitation, and provided the family with a “compassion flight” free of charge to and from the family’s home in Jacksonville. Birdies for the Brave and the PGA TOUR Wives Association, which helped to sponsor the shower, added support, as did the tournament team from the RBC Heritage.
Both Sarah and Tony Layher were overwhelmed by the opportunity to attend the shower along with their two-week-old daughter. “I cannot thank everyone involved enough for putting everything together to get us there; we appreciate it so much. It was a really wonderful day and after the last few years with so many difficulties, including Tony’s medical issues, this was such an amazing, sweet thing that brought us some positivity and happiness. It means more than you know,” Sarah said after the shower. Appropriately, the theme of the Operation Shower event was “Sweet Dreams.”
Brittany Kisner, wife of PGA TOUR player Kevin Kisner, served as guest host of the shower, which was also attended by Kevin as well as fellow PGA TOUR players Bill Haas, Morgan Hoffmann and K.J. Choi. Members of the PGA TOUR Wives Association who attended included Maria Duncan, Kourtney Marchino, Lisa Cink and Jennifer Perry.
For more information about Birdies for the Brave and hear more stories about military families impacted by the program, please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org or follow them on Facebook. For information about the Lowcountry Foundation for Wounded Military Heroes, visit www.lfwmh.org.