Heritage Palms golf tournament raises money for SWFL veterans

A local veterans group makes it its mission to provide assistance to those who served. And community members wanted to support the group, so it can continue to do what it sets out to for veterans in Southwest Florida.

Friends and neighbors at Heritage Palm Golf & Country Club joined together at a fundraiser golf tournament to raise money for Heritage Palms Veterans Association Sunday in Fort Myers.

Community members were golfing for a cause, and the money raised will benefit veterans like Barry Baron, who was wounded in action during his service overseas in the Vietnam War. Baron lost his legs when he was on active duty.

“I got wounded by a Claymore mine,” Baron said. “I knew once I got hurt. I knew I’d made it, so I went home and made the best of it.”

Veteran Buddy Baron. Credit: WINK News.

Heritage Palms recognized Baron’s disability and wanted to give him something he could do on his own given his circumstances. It was a specialized golf cart that can twist, tilt and help Baron hit the ball with ease.

“I’d never been on an actual golf course until I came down here to Heritage Palms,” Baron said.

It’s his very own golf cart from Heritage Palms.

And the local veterans association continues to help veterans like Baron throughout Southwest Florida, providing military service members with service dogs and financial assistance.

“Veterans put their life on the line, sign a blank check at some point in their life,” said Rich Crawford, the commander of Heritage Palms Veterans Association. “We should never forget that. When they fall on tough times, we should be there to help them out.”

At the fundraiser this weekend, over 200 golfers wore red, white and blue and hit the links to raise money for veterans.

“I’m hoping that we can continue to give dogs to people in need, money to people in need and help anyone that needs it,” volunteer Kathy Hahn Hall said.

Helicopter ball drop at Heritage Palms Golf & Country Club. Credit: WINK News.

The event was kicked off with a helicopter ball drop, as golfers played in the tournament while all working toward the same goal to support men and women who fought for our freedoms.

The goal for the fundraiser was $25,000, and organizers told us they believe they have exceeded that.

“It’s a brotherhood and they have your back at all times,” Baron said.

Reporter:Breana Ross
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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