Getting former soldiers outdoors and raising money for the Wounded Warrior Project are the focus of a collaboration between the nonprofit organization and the Lawrence Yacht & Country Club for a golf and tennis tournament and dinner planned for Sept. 21.
Atlantic Beach resident Barry Ringelheim, a graduate of Eastern Military Academy, and president of the former school’s alumni association that donates to the Wounded Warrior group, introduced the idea for the event.
“We are much more aware and supportive of those who served their country,” Ringelheim said, regarding the way soldiers are viewed today in contrast to the hostile environment Vietnam veterans faced when they returned from their service. “They need the help and deserve the help,” he added about injured military personnel.
The Wounded Warrior Project seeks to assist military veterans who are injured adjust to civilian life through a variety of programs and services, including stress recovery, family and peer support, transition work training and physical activities that encompasses sports, fitness, nutrition and wellness.
Bernadette Beckwell, a Wounded Warrior herself who served in the Navy and suffers from a brain injury that throws her equilibrium off, represented the organization at a meeting of event organizers held at the Village of Lawrence owned and operated club on March 26.
“Many wounded warriors are hiding and it’s hard to get them outdoors,” said Beckwell, adding she has her “good days and bad days.” “We got to get these people out. In Washington, D.C. they are socially active, but on Long Island it’s pretty challenging to do that. It would be nice to get this golf outing started and continue it.”
Depending on how many wounded warriors take part in the golfing, the plan is to have at least one in a foursome to expose civilians to the organization and simultaneously create networking opportunities for the former soldiers. Beckwell said the golf course is a relaxing environment that does not overwhelm most of the wounded soldiers and a good place for exercise.