Roswell Elks Lodge 969 Charity Golf Chairman Ralph Brown presents a $29,000 check to the South East New Mexico Veterans Transportation Network following the Elks for Vets Charity Golf Tournament, Saturday. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)
The weather was perfect this year for the 104 golfers who took part in the Elks for Vets Charity Golf Tournament at New Mexico Military Institute’s golf course on Saturday.
“This time of year it can get hot but the weather cooperated with us,” said head golf pro Crae Fields. “The course conditions were perfect. Mainly, everybody had a good time.”
By the end of the tournament, the weather only reached 84 degrees and the players relaxed at the Roswell Elks 969 Lodge for lunch.
This year’s tournament was a grand success, earning $29,000 for the South East New Mexico Veteran’s Transportation Network, a non-profit shuttle service that assists regional veterans reach medical facilities across the state.
“It’s immeasurable,” said Greg Neal, S.E.N.M. Veteran’s Network vice president. “It means so much, as much money as it is. It’s heartwarming as much as they want to help.”
The money pays for basic operating expenses for the organization, paying for gas, insurance and other costs throughout the year.
This year’s donation was the most ever received from the tournament. S.E.N.M. Veteran’s Network transported 106 vets last month, traveling 10,015 miles.
The charity tournament gets bigger and better every year, said Elks Lodge president Wayne Mahy.
“To come up with $29,000, it’s absolutely incredible,” Mahy said. “Every year, everybody gets more involved.”
This year’s event sold out four weeks before the deadline.
Several major sponsors stepped up to donate prizes for the raffle, including Home Depot, Roswell Toyota, Westlake Ace Hardware and Lovelace. Some $3,000 in awards and prizes were given away.
“Sponsors donated a record amount of money,” said Ralph Brown, the Roswell Elks Charity Golf chairman.
The Roswell Elks Lodge will start preparing next for its charity Wounded Warrior tournament that takes place in September. Funds raised from that event also stay in the community to assist veterans, Mahy said.
The first-place golf team that carded a 58 included Bonnie Puntch, Steve Puntch, Britt Donaldson and Desda Healy.
Second-place team golfers Wayne Dick, Bob Morales, Val Avila and Jose Sanchez ended the day with a 59.
BJ Sill, Nick Boyd, Bart Hoffman and Richard Anglada placed third with 59.