By Gary Stallard - The Lufkin Daily News via AP
Posted : Sunday Aug 12, 2007 12:15:58 EDT
LUFKIN, Texas — If you’re a golfer, chances are you’ve experienced either firsthand or as a witness the hurling of a golf club blamed for a bad shot. You’ve seen putters snapped, five-irons bent around trees, and drivers hurled into the nearest water hazard.
Darn those defective clubs.
But a local police officer and former Marine has discovered a much better use for those clubs you’re ready to destroy.
As it turns out, the Marines are looking for a few good clubs.
Rodney Squyres of the Lufkin Police Department last visited the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego 29 years ago as a raw recruit. This past July, Squyres and his wife, Reba, revisited the depot, this time as parents of their own new Marine. Their son, Reed Squyres, graduated Marine Corps recruit training on July 13.
When the Squyres landed at San Diego International Airport the day before the ceremony, they had in hand a full case of six-irons, courtesy of Golf USA in Lufkin. Those clubs were en route to Balboa Naval Medical Hospital, where they would then become part of a rehabilitation program for wounded Marines returning from action in the Middle East.
Squyres said he and the other parents of M Company, 3rd Battalion’s new Marines had received an e-mail from 1st Sgt. Robert Young, Mike Company’s first sergeant. Young, a reconnaissance Marine who sustained a gunshot wound in Najah, Iraq, had been invited to a Wounded Warriors golf tournament in which a San Diego resident had raised more than $60,000 to assist rehabilitating Marines. According to Squyres, combat veteran Young’s e-mail stated, “This was a very emotional experience, and brought tears to my eyes.”
Young also described speaking to the young Marines following the tournament; they described the golf outing as enjoyable and “therapeutic.”
However, Young also discovered a problem: Although Balboa Hospital boasts several nearby golf courses, there weren’t enough golf clubs available for the wounded Marines to play as part of their rehabilitation programs.
Young’s e-mail asked “parents, golfers and parents who know golfers” to bring any and all old clubs to the graduation ceremony. Young would then deliver them to the Marines at Balboa to begin putting together golf bags.
Back home, Squyres received the e-mail and approached the owner of Golf USA in Lufkin, who handed over a brand-new box of 18 six-irons. Those were the clubs Squyres delivered to 1st Sgt. Young, promising to see what he could do to further the first sergeant’s efforts.
Now, Squyres is attempting to contact local golfers and course managers in an effort to round up as many donated golf clubs as possible.
Throwing a club into a water hazard might be a great stress reliever.
But some wounded Marines have a much better use for those crooked-hitting five-irons.
For information about donations and shipping instructions, contact 1st Sgt. Robert Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.