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Swing For A Soldier

'We salute you'

Inaugural golf tournament spices up annual observance

Published: 01:18PM October 3rd, 2013
‘We salute you’

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

Rick Burney, right, watches his tee shot with teammate Sheldon Koch during the inaugural Swing For A Soldier tournament at Eagles Pride Golf Course.

In just three short years Leslie Mayne turned an event into an established nonprofit organization.

Her foundation, Permission To Start Dreaming, includes its annual marquee event, Race For A Soldier Half-Marathon in Gig Harbor, as well as an annual prayer breakfast. With the help of a team of friends and volunteers this year included the inaugural Swing For A Soldier golf tournament Sept. 27 at Eagles Pride Golf Course.

Of the 120 golfers who participated in the tournament, a third were active duty service members.

“This day is for you,” tournament director Scott Langlow said. “We salute you, we honor you, we thank you for your service.”

The tournament is another way for the organization to raise funds to benefit organizations that support service members’ well-being, like Rainier Therapeutic Riding, All American Dogs, Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors and USO Northwest.

Mayne’s son, Pfc. Kyle Farr, suffered from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury from a deployment to Iraq in 2006. Her son passed away in 2009. One of the golfers at the tournament was Farr’s uncle and ESPN sports journalist, Kenny Mayne.

“I’m proud and appreciative of what (Leslie’s) done for the family and for herself,” Kenny Mayne said. “Obviously when we lost Kyle it was pretty dark times. She took something that was terrible and made it great.”

Langlow started to plan the golf tournament about a year ago. All 18 holes of the course were sponsored, as were 28 Soldiers with donated entry fees.

“The game of golf has a lot of the same principles we have in the military: honor, discipline, focus,” Langlow said. “We also thought that there’s a lot of people who want to help Soldiers and maybe aren’t runners. So it was another opportunity for people to help.”

The Little Caesar’s Team of three civilians and a sponsored Soldier won the scramble tournament with a score of 60. The foursome each won a golf bag with the Swing For A Soldier logo.

The golf tournament was one of the three Permission To Start Dreaming foundation’s events. Before the tournament more than 400 people gathered at the Jim and Carolyn Milgard Hope Center in Gig Harbor for the annual prayer breakfast, which included former and current service members who spoke about life in the military.

Lieutenant Colonel Rick Burney’s wife, Meredith Burney, has helped Leslie Mayne with the half-marathon since the beginning. The last two years, Rick Burney was TDY and unable to see what his wife was a part of. This year he was finally able to see what it was all about, and be a part of it himself.

“It’s a great way to raise funds for a worthy cause,” he said before he teed off at the 17th fairway. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”