Meet the People Behind Fairways for Freedom
Roger Schiffman is the Founder and Director of Fairways for Freedom, which conducts trips to Ireland and Scotland for injured U.S. veterans. He was the Managing Editor of Golf Digest from 1984-2013. Since the early 1980s, he has written more than 250 articles for the magazine. He began his career at Golf Digest in 1979 and continues to write articles for the magazine every month as a Contributing Editor, working mostly with legendary player Jack Nicklaus and Hall of Fame teachers Jim McLean, Rick Smith, Chuck Cook and Martin Hall.
Schiffman has written six books on golf, including Perfectly Balanced Golf, with 1996 PGA Teacher of the Year Chuck Cook (1997), How to Win the 3 Games of Golf, with 2004 PGA Teacher of the Year Hank Johnson (1993), and A Golden 18, a large coffee-table book celebrating 18 of Jack Nicklaus’s signature golf courses throughout the country (2014). Schiffman’s history of Quaker Ridge, celebrating the club’s 100th Anniversary, was published in 2016. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Jack Nicklaus Learning Leagues, a new grow-the-game initiative. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Schiffman holds a B.A. degree in Journalism. A 3-handicap golfer, he splits his time among Connecticut, Cape Cod, Jupiter, FL, and Northwest Ireland with his wife, Patricia Donnelly PhD, a sport psychotherapist and Fairways for Freedom Co-founder. Their daughter, Kate, is a lead mental-health clinician in Boston and a Fairways for Freedom board member.
PATRICIA DONNELLY, PHD
Dr. Patricia Donnelly is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Fairways for Freedom. She is a sport psychotherapist who specializes in performance enhancement for all types of athletes. Dr. Donnelly works with both elite and recreational athletes to improve their performance through such techniques as simulating the zone, creating a sense of flow, goal-setting, relaxation, positive self-talk, thought-stoppage and enhanced concentration.
Dr. Donnelly is trained in Mindful Yoga Therapy for veterans coping with trauma and is a certified Veterans Yoga Project Instructor. She is also a certified health coach specializing in holistic nutrition. She designs personal mental/nutritional training programs to help individuals—from aspiring professional golfers going through Q School, to amateurs trying to win the club championship. She coaches clients to believe in themselves, even when they are losing, and trains them to stay in control and reverse their performance to achieve their goals. She trains her clients to find the positive by learning from mistakes, keeping things in perspective and taking risks.
Listed in the golfdigest.com registry of mental gurus, Dr. Donnelly received her PhD from the University of Connecticut. As an expert in the psychology of sport and leisure, she presents seminars for professionals and conducts workshops on sport psychology. She writes columns on sport psychology and leisure psychology for newspapers and magazines, has appeared on numerous major network radio and TV shows, including CBS Morning, and has authored papers presented at academic conferences, including on such subjects as the power of visualization at the Annual Conference of the American College of Sports Medicine, and on the motivation of golfers at the World Scientific Congress of Golf, in St. Andrews, Scotland.
DAVID SINGER, CDR USCG RET
David Singer is a Director of Fairways for Freedom. He is an Aviation Consultant and Falcon 7X Pilot under contract with aircraft manufacturer Dassault Falcon Jet.
Singer graduated from the United States Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. His active tours of duty include: Engineering and Law Enforcement Boarding Officer on the Cutter Unimak; Distinguished Graduate of Naval Air Station Pensacola Flight School; Aircraft Commander on HU-25 Falcons out of Air Station Cape Cod, MA; HC-130 Aircraft Commander and Aeronautical Engineering Officer out of Barber’s Point, HI; and HC-130/HH-65 Dolphin Service Life Extension Program Manager out of Washington DC. As a Coast Guard Aviator he is directly responsible for the saving of a multitude of lives in various Search and Rescue operations throughout the Atlantic, Pacific and Equatorial regions. He has been involved in a myriad of law enforcement operations, including environmental, drug and illegal migrant operations. In addition, he flew operations in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Storm.
Following 11 years of Active duty, Singer transitioned into the Reserve component to pursue civilian aviation. While in the Reserve contingent he rose to the rank of the Senior Reserve Officer in Boston, MA, managing one of the larger Coast Guard reserve components. He retired with the rank of Commander after 23 years of distinguished service. In the civilian sector, Singer has flown a number of corporate as well as commercial aircraft, including Falcon, Gulfstream, Boeing, Grumman and McDonnell Douglas products. He has operated with various aviation departments as well as a major commercial airline. He has circumnavigated the globe numerous times in his aviation career and most recently managed a corporate flight department in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years. Singer, an avid golfer, lives in New Albany, Ohio, with his wife and two children.
KATE SCHIFFMAN, MA
Kate Schiffman serves on the Board of Directors of Fairways for Freedom. She is Lead Clinician of the partial hospitalization program for the general adult population at Arbour-HRI Hospital in Brookline, MA. Working with patients from all walks of life, she conducts individual and group therapy sessions and coordinates and manages her staff of clinicians.
A graduate of Stonehill College and Boston College, where she earned her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, Schiffman also trained at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA. In addition, she earned a Certificate in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She taught golf at the Club at New Seabury on Cape Cod in its summer junior program for six years.
JOHN SANABIA, NAVY SEAL CWO5 (RET)
John Sanabia is the Military Spokesman and Logistics Coordinator for Fairways for Freedom. He is a retired SEAL Chief Warrant Officer Five with 30 years of Special Operations experience, from tactical to strategic level theater operational tours in Iraq, Bahrain, and eight other worldwide deployments. He is experienced intraining, equipping and facilitating operational command, execution and control functions at the National and Combined Joint Task Force level.
Some of John’s Military Highlights: As a Project Manager for ADVENT LADEN operations, he served as Commander, Special Operations Troop and Commander, Regional Task Force—Gulf Cooperation Council, where he was accountable for the leadership, tactical guidance and operational control of deployed Special Operations Forces (SOF) and technical personnel in support of USSOCOM liaison programs for specified GWOT High Priority Countries.
Sanabia has also been instrumental in formulating and implementing successful SOF training programs. Serving as the Officer-in-Charge & Training Officer for SEAL Qualification Training,Naval Special Warfare Center, he managed its $2.6 million budget, mentored and supervised 24 Special Operations Instructors and 11 Civilians in the education and training of more than 250 aspiring patriots each year with the end goal of graduating the 31-week SEAL NEC-awarding course.
John, an avid golfer, and his wife, a Navy Nurse, also enjoy their two German Shepherd Dogs, “Warrant and Spike,” who help him cope with his service-connected disabilities.
SUNDANCE SCARDINO, PARARESCUE JUMPER
Sundance Scardino, Fairways for Freedom Resiliency Golf Clinic Coordinator, is a Drill Status Guardsman and the Director of Medical Training for the 131st Rescue Squadron, based at the Moffett Federal Airfield, Mountain View, CA. He represents the operational leadership and is the principal advisor to the Director of Operations on the combat medical readiness of the squadron. Scardino also is a full-time Firefighter/Paramedic for Engine Company 14 of the San Jose (CA) Fire Department.
Scardino entered the Air Force in 1991 and served initially as a Tactical Air Command and Control Specialist (TACP) and three years later cross-trained into Pararescue. His extensive background includes Air Combat Command, Air Force Special Operations and the California Air National Guard. He has participated in Southern/Northern Watch Campaign, Operation Enduring Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism in several classified locations.
Additionally, he has supported various Defense Support of Civilian Authorities humanitarian, Domestic Operations and rescue missions. Scardino flew more than 40 combat sorties during his last tour to Afghanistan that resulted in his own PTSD. He credits golf as a major factor in helping him in his recovery. He is currently navigating through the Medical Evaluation Board retirement process.
RICHARD CONNER, CHIEF COUNSEL
Richard Conner and his law firm Conner Gwyn Schenck PLLC serve as General Counsel to Fairways for Freedom.
Richard grew up in Greensboro, NC, where he and his wife, Vicki, now live. He has been practicing law since 1973. As a part of his private practice, he served for 16 years as general counsel to the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). He also served as counsel for the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA).
Conner is a graduate of Guilford College and the University of North Carolina School of Law
He enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1962 and later served active duty aboard the USS Okinawa LPH-3 during the Vietnam War. Okinawa was a mobile base from which a well-equipped force of marines could quickly strike via helicopters. While on active duty he worked in the Captain’s Office as YN3.
In addition to representing clients, Conner works as a mediator and arbitrator in complex business disputes. He is a member of the American Arbitration Association Construction Mega Project Panel and its Large, Complex Case Panel of Arbitrators and Neutrals. He is certified as a mediator in North Carolina. His dispute resolution experience as a neutral includes extended service as a member of dispute review boards for multi-billion dollar toll roads.
Conner is a Fellow in the American College of Construction Lawyers. He served as a board Member of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, City of Greensboro, N.C. Transit Authority, the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, and as Chairman of the Guilford County North Carolina Board of Elections.
Conner, Gwyn & Schenck, PLLC
TERRY FINLEY, SPECIAL FORCES MASTER SERGEANT
Terry Finley is the National and Military Outreach Director at Clear path for Veterans, in Chittenango, NY. He uses his experience, knowledge and networking to help educate, promote and expand worthy causes and organizations. Clear Path for Veterans’ outreach covers a 23-country region in New York State, and touches more than 1,000 veterans, military and their family members each month through its programs and services. Clear Path’s programs and services are diverse, and they emphasize community partnerships and collaboration.
Terry served more than 27 years on active duty with the Air Force and Army. He retired as a Master Sergeant after 24 years in Special Forces and has worked, lived and played golf on five continents, participating in operations around the globe. He loves the camaraderie and relation of the game of golf.