The upstairs meeting room of the Lawrence Yacht & Country Club has been humming with activity for the past several Wednesday nights as volunteers have been involved in coordinating the Wounded Warrior Project day of golf, tennis and fishing at the village owned and operated club on Sept. 21.
Founded to help retuning soldiers adjust back to civilian life, the Wounded Warrior Project organization provides a variety of programs and services, such as stress recovery, family and peer support, transition work training and physical activities that encompasses sports, fitness, nutrition and wellness.
James O’Leary, the Wounded Warrior Project outreach coordinator for the metropolitan area, said that these type of events are overseen by the group’s alumni program that seeks to assist in rebuilding the veterans’ sense of camaraderie and identity they felt during their military service.
“[During] these events our warriors get to talk to their brothers and sisters who know what they went through, who share similar experiences, lost friends, etc.,” said O’Leary, a wounded warrior himself who served in the Army’s infantry in Iraq from Sept. 1, 2003 until he was severely wounded in a mortar attack on July 19, 2004.
He lost part of his left lung, had his ribs and shoulder shattered, lost a piece of the shoulder blade. As a result of O’Leary’s injuries he has medical issues with his back, knee and hip, and suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder. “Very often these events are the first time a warrior may come out of his or her house to meet other veterans,” he said. “It can be the first step in their recovery. Just knowing that there are other warriors out there who can relate to them, lets them know that they are not alone.”
Veterans who attend this event will certainly not be alone as the club’s pros will give golf and tennis clinics to introduce them to the sports, service men and women will golf and play tennis with club members, and go fishing on boats of those who rent dock space at the club’s marina.
Atlantic Beach resident and tennis club member Barry Ringelheim, who serves as president of Eastern Military Academy’s alumni association introduced the idea, and along with Dr. Robert Raider, has organized the event. “We are mailing invitations to all members of the Lawrence Yacht & Country Club, this is a cost effective way for all members to participate,” Ringelheim said.
The cost of the dinner and cocktail reception is $60 per person. There are 350 seats available. Up to 550 people are expected. There will also be raffles and a silent auction. The rain date is Oct. 12. This would make it the biggest event in LY&CC history, according to Leo McMahon, the club’s general manager. “It will bring the community closer for a good cause,” he said.
To play golf call Raider at (516) 816-4803. To play tennis call Ringelheim at (516) 745-8820. For more information, attend the dinner or make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project call either one.