Dan Covington from the 11th Air Defense Artillery “Imperial” Brigade lines up his shot during the Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care charity golf tournament played at the El Paso Vista Hills Country Club, Nov. 2. Photo by Capt. Tamara Gonzales, 11th ADA Bde.
Capt. Tamara Gonzales
11th ADA Bde. Public Affairs
Golf is a game oftentimes played for relaxation, camaraderie and in competition. The Soldiers of 11th Air Defense Artillery “Imperial” Brigade added another reason to play golf – helping others. Soldiers from the brigade joined with community organizations to help provide food, shelter, medical care and scholarships to those less fortunate. None of this would have been possible, had it not been for one of the brigade’s very own previous commanders, retired Col. Jim Smith.
“It turned out be a great event,” said Smith, who commanded the brigade from August 1988 through July 1990. “Everyone felt great about donating to charity as well as sponsoring and having fellowship with Soldiers.”
The Soldiers joined with sponsors at the El Paso Vista Hills Country Club, raising money for Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care.
YLM Human Care provides relief and human care services on the U.S./Mexico border, including a hot meal program, food basket distributions, scholarships for disadvantaged youth and routine medical, dental and eyeglasses care. Volunteers also build homes and construct necessary home improvements for those less fortunate.
“It’s always fun to come out with members of our brigade and to see what we can do,” said Chap. (Lt. Col.) David Epperson, the brigade’s chaplain. “Plus, one of our previous commanders arranged all this; he is the one that should be commended.”
All participants set an example of what it is to give. While the sponsoring organizations donated to the Soldiers free golf game, golfers had the opportunity to purchase twenty dollar mulligans with the funds also going to charity. A mulligan permits the golfer to retake a certain shot. Each Soldier could purchase up to five mulligans, personally contributing up to $100 to the cause.
The brigade had a total of 10 four-person teams with personnel coming from the 2nd Battalion, 43rd ADA, 3-43 ADA, 286th Signal Company and the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battery.
Other contributors included the overwhelming response by local corporations and Smith’s own El Paso church, Zion Lutheran Church.
“Many members of my church liked the idea of sponsoring military members to play golf,” said Smith. “It felt good giving something to Soldiers and it felt great helping to make the event a success.”
The event raised a total of $6,600. Five thousand dollars was donated by sponsors and Soldiers with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans matching one dollar to every three dollars up to $1,600.
“Thrivent Financial and its members really appreciate their earnings going to programs like this,” said Miguel Hernandez with Thrivent.
“The biggest thing was retired colonel Smith inviting us, it really made the game,” said Maj. James Zopelis, the 3-43 ADA operations officer in charge.