Wayne Zellers wanted to find a way to give back to the service men and women who have fought and continue to fight for the country’s freedom every day.
As a member of the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech, Zellers wanted to host a golf tournament to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).
While discussing his idea with fellow veterans, he was put in touch with Mark Peterson, chairman of the veterans committee for United Auto Workers Local 2069, which represents the workers of the Volvo plant in Dublin.
Zellers, of Radford, was pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming response of the people and businesses of the community. “This was the first time we have had this tournament so I didn’t know what to expect.”
Twenty-seven teams comprised of four players each competed in a Captain’s Choice tournament at the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech in Radford to raise money to benefit wounded service men and women through WWP.
“We are overjoyed that one of our members (Zellers) put together such a successful event. Not only were the veterans honored, but the American spirit was felt by all,” said Stephanie Roberts, business manager at the course.
Of the 108 golfers who participated in the tournament, there were approximately 25 veterans. Zellers also invited honorary veterans, ranging in service from World War II to the Iraqi War, to be on-hand for the event. One such veteran was Glenn Mallory, 95, who was a staff sergeant during World War II.
The UAW Local 2069, led by Peterson, put together a program that included the singing of the “National Anthem” by Kaylee Hall of Floyd. Hall also sang “God Bless the USA.”
The emcee was Jeff Walke of Pulaski. Andrew Shields of Dublin performed a rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes and Doug Patterson, also of Dublin, was the chaplain for the event.
“We are very proud to host a fundraiser for our fallen service members,” said John Norton, PGA. “Thank you to all that have served our great country.”
Local businesses provided over 31 hole sponsorships as well as additional prizes that were awarded during the celebratory dinner following the tournament.
Zellers and Peterson turned out to be a successful pairing as the tournament finished out the day raising a little over $15,000.
The pair has already set a date for next year’s event. It will be Monday, June 8, 2015 at the Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech.
For more information about the upcoming tournament, contact Wayne Zellers at 540-835-3398.