The fundraising event for Veterans Caring for Veterans at the Edwardsville, Ill. club was successful even though golfers had to brave 50 mph winds. Before the tournament started, there was a flag-raising ceremony, the playing of the national anthem, a bell-ringing ceremony and the awarding of special quilts to nine veterans. The eighth annual program benefits five local veterans organizations. “It was a great event and we’re fortunate that we have the local support base that we’re able to pay it forward,” says Veterans Caring for Veterans chairman Joe Revelle.
Oak Brook Golf Club in Edwardsville, Ill. hosted its eighth annual Veterans Day Golf Tournament on Nov. 5.
Strong winds made the conditions on the golf course less than ideal, but the biggest fundraiser of the year for Veterans Caring for Veterans was a success, nonetheless, The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported.
“We had good weather except for 50-mile-an-hour winds,” Veterans Caring for Veterans chairman Joe Revelle said. “The temperature was in the mid-50s, so otherwise it was bearable. We had a total of 36 four-person teams with 77 veterans in attendance plus about 20 volunteers.”
The event started with a flag-raising ceremony and the national anthem, followed by a bell-ringing ceremony, The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported.
“The bell-ringing is for anyone who wants to come forward and pay their respects for a fallen veteran or a family member who has passed away,” Revelle said. “We also had the honor guards from the Edwardsville VFW, the Edwardsville American Legion and the Troy VFW, and we did the firing squad salute and played Taps.”
Revelle said Jan Copeland, the Central Illinois state coordinator for Quilts of Valor, then awarded quilts to nine veterans, The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported. There were a total of 11 recipients, but two veterans were unable to attend the event.
“That’s going to be part of our memorial portion every year and we’re always looking for more veterans to get on our list to receive their quilts,” Revelle said.
The golf tournament was preceded by breakfast.
“It was a great event and we’re fortunate that we have the local support base that we’re able to pay it forward,” Revelle said to The Edwardsville Intelligencer. We are financially supporting five local organizations.”
One of those organizations is Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 90 in Glen Carbon, which has been part of the tournament since it started in 2015, The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported.
“They mentioned to us that they needed a couple of new vans for veterans’ needs and in that very first tournament, we got them enough for their first van,” Revelle said. “They were able to buy another new van since then and we’ve been able to give financial support every year…We are also supporting the ladies from the Glen Carbon DAV Chapter 90 Auxiliary. They do a fantastic job for children at Christmas.”
Another organization supported by Veterans Caring for Veterans is the Marine Corps Toys for Tots from Alton Leathernecks Detachment 1160, The Edwardsville Intelligencer reported.
“We collect toys for them, and people can also make a cash donation,” Revelle said. “Whatever that comes up to, we add to it and make a check out to them.”
Veterans Caring for Veterans also supports Copeland and Quilts of Valor, based out of Hartford.
The fifth organization supported by Revelle’s group is Land of Lincoln Honor Flight from Springfield.
“We have a lot of local veterans here that have taken flights through Springfield, including myself, and we’ll assist any veteran that wants to get on that Honor Flight,” said Revelle, an Air Force veteran who visited Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30 to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. “I had my day, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. I have 11 brothers on that wall, and I was able to pay my respects to them.”
Another issue that the group is tackling is homelessness among veterans.
“We’re getting a lot of calls from VA organizations to help these young veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Revelle said. “Some of them are homeless as well as just totally down on their luck. One gentleman in Alton lost his home and they condemned it and he was put out on the street…The VA was assisting him to try to get him back on his feet and his family was paying the bill for him to stay at a hotel in Alton. As long as the family was financially supporting him, the VA couldn’t really do anything for him, and it took financial assistance from an organization like us, and we paid for his lodging so he could qualify through VA to get complete support.”
Revelle thanked all of the sponsors that help make the tournament happen annually.
“We appreciate all of the local sponsors, both individuals and corporate sponsors,” Revelle said. “They step up to support our veterans and we are a local organization. We support Madison, St. Clair, Bond and Macoupin counties, wherever our veterans need help.”