Fairways for Freedom® is embarking on a new and ambitious program to increase awareness of the veteran suicide epidemic and work toward ending it once and for all. The program is called “Play 18 for 22” and will focus attention on the fact that tragically 22 U.S. service men and women take their own lives every day. FFF’s contention is that this statistic is simply not acceptable, and we intend to do something about it.
The “Play 18 for 22” program is the brainchild of Lt. Col. (Ret) Carolyn Fota, a combat-injured veteran who participated in our first trip to Ireland. When she finished her round at Old Head Golf Club in driving rain and wind, accompanied by FFF co-Founder Dr. Patricia Donnelly and the lone caddie who stuck out the round, Fota dropped to the 18th green and performed 20 push-ups, plus one (for the one who is never forgotten). FFF volunteers John Sanabia, Tim Young and Jason Miller (all combat-injured veterans) will be spearheading the campaign for FFF. They have already begun recruiting veterans across the country to staff tables at local golf courses to provide information for golfers before their rounds. These veterans will work the tables sometime between Nov. 6-15, around Veterans Day (Nov. 11). The golfers will be encouraged to play 18 holes then do 22 pushups or equivalent exercise on their final green.
“Play 18 for 22” is intended as an awareness campaign, not a fundraising effort. Already, a number of FFF veterans have volunteered to work tables at their local golf clubs across the country for one or more days during those two weeks. The purpose is to discuss the veteran suicide epidemic with golfers who are playing that day and who might not be aware of the seriousness of the problem. The veterans will provide literature and strategies to these golfers who might be able to help a veteran in need or who might know a veteran who could use a helping hand or an understanding ear. The golfers will also be encouraged to invite a veteran in their area out for a round of golf. FFF has set up a special hotline through a Veterans Center to help identify veterans throughout the country who want to play golf.
For more information or to find out how you can participate at your local course or club, contact John Sanabia at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tim Young at email@example.com, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.