Golf tournament raises money to help local vets and their families

Posted at 8:17 PM, Sep 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-15 21:17:49-04

BASEHOR, Kan. - The sun was shining bright on participants in the fourth annual Friends in Service of Heroes (FISH) Golf Classic.

More than 100 avid golfers hit the green at the Golf Club at Falcon Lakes to raise money for the organization with the mission to "help veterans of every age and their families maintain their freedom and improve their quality of life." 

While participants were putting for prizes, they were also put through the ringer.

Holes throughout the course were redesigned as "missions."

At one hole, golfers were instructed to put on a flank jacket and helmet, then tee off with the heavy gear on; while at another, they were to putt using a military shovel.

"This is going to be exciting," said Fred Box, a retired Army Ranger, who spent 21 years in the service. 

While the trials of the course were fun and exciting, they were also meant to be thought provoking, according to Paul Chapa, chairman and president of FISH.

"It might be kind of fun, trying to hit a golf ball. But for our men and women in uniform, it's not fun, it's a matter of life and death. That is what this day is all about, reflecting on our veterans, the commitment and sacrifice to our country," he said.  

And reflect they did, during the opening ceremonies of the event.

After speeches made to honor our veterans, as well as those who made the ultimate sacrifice, the national anthem was sung and the colors, hoisted.

Chapa took ahold of the microphone to welcome the crowd.

"I look around, we got a bunch of friends. Trying to do one thing and that is to serve our heroes," he said.

During the ceremony, FISH presented Anna Sarol, a 16-year-old who was paralyzed in a gymnastic accident, with a new Segway wheelchair.

The teen, whose father served in the Airforce, was "thankful for this opportunity" and the gift. 

FISH also provided Malik James, with a service dog, a gesture that left him speechless.

"I don't think anyone here can possibly understand how much this means to me and my family," he said. "I'm truly speechless, I am humbled and I am committed to be more like the people who helped me." 

FISH puts on fundraising events, such as the golf classic, throughout the year.