Sun City residents honor Fort Hood Soldiers

By Staff Sgt. Rob Strain
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

GEORGETOWN, Texas — Hundreds of Sun City retirement community residents lined the streets, cheering and waving huge American flags and Thank You signs at two white buses as they passed through their community May 29.

The buses, on their way to the community’s White Wing Golf Club for a golf tournament, carried more than 100 Fort Hood Soldiers, many of whom recently returned from a deployment to Iraq.

The town’s welcome caught many of the Soldiers by surprise.

“It was awesome,” said Staff Sgt. James Raymond, a Pittsburgh native with the 15th Sustainment Brigade’s Operations section. “It was almost like getting off the plane again.”

The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Soldier said he was just expecting to come down and play some golf, the turnout and support of the community really surprised him.

“It’s always nice to know that there is so much support for Soldiers,” Raymond said. “It’s almost like the whole community came out.”

The tournament was put on by the residents of Sun City and the Fort Hood United Services Organization.

“We wanted to do something for Sun City residents to say ‘Thanks’ to the Soldiers of Fort Hood,” said Anne Henry, one of the event organizers.

According to Henry, her and a few of the other ladies in the community met with Robin Crouse, the director of the USO at Fort Hood, and decided they wanted to do something for the Soldiers.

Once they decided to hold a golf tournament, donations started pouring in, said Henry.

She said people donated everything from their time and money to giving up their golf clubs for Soldiers to use for the day.

Residents even set up snack stands for the Soldiers on nearly ever hole, handing out water, soda, fruit and cookies to the golfers as they played through.

The Soldiers were broken up into teams of four - three Soldiers and a fourth player from the community, many of them veterans of World War II, Korea or Vietnam.

The tournament was played as a “best ball,” which means the team chose the best shot from all four players and played from there, using a single score for each team.

The First place team scored an eight-under par 64 across 18 holes.

At the end of the tournament, the Sun City residents hosted a barbeque for the Soldiers, giving away several prizes, including two sets of golf clubs, a trip to California, and a cruise for two out of Galveston, Texas.

The residents also presented Crouse with a check for the amount of money raised beyond their expenses, which totaled $20,000.

Crouse said all the money will go toward making life better for the Soldiers on Fort Hood through the programs and services offered by the USO.

Although Raymond didn’t win the golf tournament or any of the prizes, he said he enjoyed coming out and seeing the support offered by the communities near Fort Hood.

“It was a great time,” Raymond said. “If they do it again, I’ll be all over it one more time.”