PARKVILLE, Mo. — The third year of the Patriot Outreach Golf Tournament was the largest yet.
On Monday, May 14, a total of 112 golfers played on the Tom Watson designed The Deuce at the National Golf Club. That is up from 74 the first two years of the event.
The field included 12 veterans, including retired Col. Jack Shafferman, a Parkville resident who served 36 total years in the military between the Air Force and Army.
He spoke at the event, as did Parkville mayor Nan Johnston, prior to the noon shotgun start at the golf club. Members of the Kansas City based-Missouri National Guard 138th infantry regiment started the ceremony by presenting the colors while the national anthem was played.
Thanks to a proclamation recently passed in Parkville, Monday was Patriot Outreach Day.
“It is a deep honor,” Johnston said of the large number of players in the event. “They do wonderful things. Suicide is tragic and a huge number of those are in the veteran community than any other. It is nice to see people taking care of the body and mind and that is what it takes.”
Patriot Outreach is a non-profit organization based out of Leavenworth, Kan., that provides access for those in the armed forces, veterans, retirees, government employees, battlefield contractors, first responders and their families for those coping with anger, stress or PTSD. On average there were 22 suicides per day from 1999 to 2010 based on a 2013 report from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
There were a number of sponsors at the event, including Cerner and Sam’s Club, which had volunteers helping out. Hooter’s, Sleep Number, Edelbrook and AmVet were also there to aide in the tournament.
Also there was the family support group for the 138th Battalion, which had many soldiers deployed overseas last year for Operation Enduring Freedom.
“We do morale boosting events and focus on the kids and children,” said Abby Houghton, a family readiness leader for the group located near the Truman Sports Complex. “We get to put to put on events and meet the families. Being the National Guard, you don’t live next door so we put on events and that is the only way to be around other family members.”
Schafferman said the event was a success and all of the sponsors gave indication they would return for the fourth annual event next spring.