I received an e-mail from a family member that contained the following article. Before I posted it I searched several sources, including Snopes, to verify the article’s validity. To my pleasant surprise I discovered this is an actual program in which the PING Golf Club Company has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Foundation to assist disabled veterans with… well, you’ll see when you read it. I have no idea who wrote this article but my search proved it to be true. And God bless the PING Company for what they’re doing.
“On Monday, I played the Disney, Lake Buena Vista course. As usual the starters matched me with three other players. After a few holes we began to get to know each other a bit. One fellow was rather young and had his wife riding along in the golf cart with him. I noticed that his golf bag had his name on it and after closer inspection, it also said "wounded war veterans". When I had my first chance to chat with him I asked him about the bag. His response was simply that it was a gift. I then asked if he was wounded and he said yes. When I asked more about his injury, his response was "I'd rather not talk about it, sir".
Over a few holes I learned that he had spent the last 15 months in an army rehabilitation hospital in San Antonio Texas . His wife moved there to be with him and he was released from the hospital in September. He was a rather quiet fellow; however, he did say that he wanted to get good at golf. We had a nice round and as we became a bit more familiar I asked him about the a brand new set of Ping woods and irons he was playing. Some looked like they had never been hit. His response was simple. He said that this round was the first full round he had played with these clubs.
Later in the round he told me the following. As part of the discharge process from the rehabilitation hospital, Ping comes in and provides three days of golf instruction, followed by club fitting. Upon discharge from the hospital, Ping gives each of the discharged veterans, generally about 40 soldiers, a brand new set of custom fitted clubs along with the impressive golf bags.
The fellow I met was named Ben Woods and he looked me in the eye and said that being fitted for those clubs was one of the best things that ever happened to him and he was determined to learn to play golf well enough to deserve the gift Ping had given him. Ben is now out of the service, medically discharged just a month ago. He is as fine a young man as you would ever want to meet.
Ping has the good judgment not to advertise this program. God Bless America and the game of golf.”
The greatest part of this story is that PING doesn’t talk about the program, doesn’t draw attention to itself by using it for self-promotion, and doesn’t think what they’re doing is a big deal.
Bill Gates from PING said the program is for veterans who were severely injured fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"They learn to do sports -- anything from skiing to golf to rock-climbing," Gates said. "It's an amazing program, we're just proud to be a part of it."
"We feel like what we've done is really inconsequential, compared to the sacrifices that all these people have made for our country," Gates said. "The Armed Forces have done so much to help protect our liberties and help us to be a successful company. The least we could do was to give back to these true American heroes."
I’m sure (at least I hope) there are other companies out there who are quietly helping our wounded warriors. If so, I hope one day the word gets out. I can tell you one thing – I would be inclined to buy products from a company like that.