The Roswell Elks Lodge’s sixth annual Elks for Vets Charity Golf Tournament raised $37, 500 on Saturday. The annual tournament was held at the New Mexico Military Institute golf course. Money raised goes toward providing transportation for area veterans to and from VA Hospitals. (Courtesy Photo)
The sixth annual Elks for Vets Charity Golf Tournament raised $37,500 when the popular event returned to the New Mexico Military Institute golf course on Saturday.
Sponsored by the Roswell Elks Lodge No. 969, the charity event raises money each year for the Southeastern New Mexico Veterans Transportation Network, a non-profit organization that provides free rides for area veterans to and from veterans hospitals.
The SENM Veterans Transportation Network drives local veterans to VA medical facilities from Roswell, Artesia, Carlsbad and the surrounding communities. More than 50 percent of its operating budget comes from donations to this event.
More than 1,500 vets were carried 186,000-plus miles in 2013.
Tournament participants started the morning with a light breakfast, then registered and were checked in by Rita Doerhoefer and Charlotte Angade.
“NMMI’s Crae Fields and his staff did an outstanding job of providing a great environment for the tournament,” said tournament committee chairman Ralph Brown. “After some driving range and putting practice the tournament was ready for our brief opening ceremonies.”
NMMI tournament director Brady Crump welcomed everyone and explained the tournament format. This was followed by a few words from NMMI’s Superintendent Major Gen. Jerry Grizzle, Brigadier Gen. Jerry Childress and U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, all saluting veterans.
A proclamation from Lt. Gov. John Sanchez was read by his Chief of Staff Mike Van Dyke. Brown also thanked all of the many sponsors, especially the tournament’s four Executive Platinum Sponsors: Roswell Toyota, New Mexico Elks Association Veterans Services, Navajo Refinery and TSAY/ILEA.
The golfers were asked to take time to look at the signs and banners and remember these are the businesses that are supporting our local veterans.
Retired Lt. Col. Andy Norton hit the first ball to start the tournament.
Upon completion of the tournament, food, refreshments, scoring and awards were held at the Roswell Elks Lodge.
Scoring and the golf awards for longest putt and closest to the pin on all the par 3’s was announced by Brady Crump.
Greg Neal and Magil Duran from the Southeastern New Mexico Veterans Transportation group were presented with a check for $37,500. The check was presented by representatives from Roswell Toyota, Navajo Refinery, TSAY/ILEA, NM Elks Veterans Service, and Roswell Elks Lodge Charity Golf.
Between door prizes and tournament awards, over $3,000 dollars was won by golfers supporting the event.
The Roswell Elks Lodge has conducted 11 charity golf tournaments over the past 5 and 1/2 years, having raised and donated over $254,500 to local charities, said Brown.
The next Roswell Elks charity golf event will be held on Sept. 13 at NMMI golf course and will be the third annual Roswell Elks Lodge New Mexico Wounded Warrior Charity Golf Tournament, Brown said.
Congressman Steve Pearce, center, speaks to the golfers at the Elks for Vets Charity Golf Tournament on Saturday at NMMI. (Courtesy Photo)