Tee It Up for the Troops proudly hosted its 4th annual “REUNION” outreach initiative in January at Reunion Resort in Orlando. This event, which has continued to grow every year, combines beautiful surroundings with a wonderful group of people gathered together to support a critical cause.
This year’s event featured:
- 34 invited warriors
- 17 warriors invited by key partners
- 16 other veterans
- 21 supportive caregivers
- One 99 year old World War II veteran
- One 93 year old World War II veteran
- One original member of the world renowned recording group, the Commodores – Thomas McClary (below)
The concept of this unique Reunion program is to reunite wounded, ill or injured service members who had been separated due to battlefield injuries, changes in rehabilitation status, or for other reasons beyond their control. The objective is that through these reunions, participating veterans can dramatically enhance their reintegration process into productive and fulfilling civilian lifestyles.
Hosted in a secure and supportive environment, and staged around the rehabilitative aspects of the game of golf, participants at Reunion can not only reconnect with those who are most trusted, but also develop new relationships and support networks to help them “heal, transition, grow, and thrive.” Throughout Reunion, these combat altered warriors enjoy therapeutic time on the golf course and also participate in a variety of helpful sessions to support a healthy lifestyle.
Reunion Resort offered the perfect setting to reunite this diverse group of warriors from all across the country. Together, they were able to discuss and identify some important areas of care, and also address those areas that are still unmet.
We also hosted productive breakout sessions with all attending caregivers which provided valuable insight into many of the key challenges that they face on a daily basis. Many ideas were shared on various ways to bond, strengthen themselves and their warriors, and support each other as this group continues to fight a very different kind of battle.
In addition, key partners including Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, Fisher House Foundation, Disabled Sports USA/Warfighter Sports, Hope for the Warriors, and Troops First also reunited for productive dialogue on how we can more effectively assist each other to better serve our respective missions.
Many additional sponsors and private parties also came together as a family to enjoy one of this country’s finest freedoms – the incredible game of golf!
All of these various groups joined together at this Reunion event to support our military families and our Tee It Up for the Troops mission. A survey conducted following the event provided some valuable insight into the effectiveness of the Reunion concept:
- Respondents reported a 31% reduction in their level of stress after attending Reunion
- Respondents reported a 25% increase in their feelings of “hopefulness” after attending Reunion
- Respondents reported a 41% increase in “feeling connected” after attending Reunion
Needless to say, we were very pleased to see those encouraging results! Below you will also find some direct warrior quotes that help remind us of the many fun activities and positive results from this Reunion week.
We look forward to reuniting with many of you again next year and sharing the Reunion experience with many newcomers!
“… it was really great to see the camaraderie, some relationships formed and others strengthened, and healing happening in front of you. It is clear that once again this event will make a difference in the lives of those who attended, their families and others in their lives.”
“I don’t think words could ever express how much this year and last year affected my life and my marriage. I believe lives and marriages (were) changed this weekend.”
“I departed with a profound sense of comfort that Tee It Up for the Troops is one of the best organizations supporting military veterans that I have been associated with in my over 30 years of service and working for veterans causes.”
“Dealing with my team leaders death had me thinking suicide. Going to (this) event saved my life. I cannot say thank you enough.”
“I want to personally thank you for your love and commitment to veterans. The fact that (my son and his battle buddy) were included and able to reunite made me cry with joy.”
“Reunion 2015 was an amazing experience… I was witness to the great impact it had on all who attended. Re-connecting with friends and family is very important and a major help in recovery.”
“It was a honor for us to attend! Thank you and to all of the people involved that made this possible. Dad talks about it every day.”
“This event feels like a first class family reunion. I cherish the ability to see all the familiar faces and to meet wonderful new ones. Tee It Up genuinely cares and it shows big time.”