Dataw Island, SC (November 7, 2016) - Dataw Island will again host a multitude of Veteran’s Day events, highlighted by the Veterans Purple Heart Classic and a special presentation of a Quilt of Valor.
The celebrations kicked off today with Dataw residents lining the streets with hundreds of American flags. Tomorrow’s celebration tees off before dawn with Chris Fearn’s Golf Marathon, benefitting Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA). Fearn will golf from pre-dawn until dark on Monday, in a pledge-format golf fundraiser for wounded veterans, several of whom will be present to cheer him on. Last year Fearn raised $19,000 in this one day, and he hopes to best that amount.
On Tuesday, November 8 at 9:30 am, Veterans from all American military branches will join together for the annual Veterans March and Rally at the Dataw Island Clubhouse. The ceremony includes a full color guard, vocal performance, and presentation.
The Purple Heart Golf Classic follows the parade, with a field of 200 supporters and 30 wounded veterans from all across the U.S. competing. The Veterans Purple Heart Golf Classic supports wounded veterans and their families, having raised nearly $150,000 in the past. Recipient organizations have included the OnCourse Foundation, the Folds of Honor Foundation, the National Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Wounded Warrior Project. The tournament was started with the help of Dataw Island resident and retired U.S. Army COL. Glenn Blackburn, a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
“We are excited to have this great tradition happen again this year.” Blackburn said. “It is wonderful to see how the Dataw Island community embraces these events and supports our veterans.”
A luncheon immediately follows the golf tournament, and this year it includes an extra special presentation. The Dataw Quilters have combined hundreds of man-hours to craft a handmade Quilt of Valor to be presented to distinguished guest Nicholas Thom. Thom is a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, as well as a member of the SMGA. He has also been a participant in the Simpson Cup Tournament.
About Nicholas Thom:
Thom served in the Charlie Company 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, aboard Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, NC. In Feb. 2010, his unit received orders to Musaqala, Afghanistan as part of the President’s “Surge” Campaign. While conducting Operation “Dogpile,” clearing villages of Taliban fighters, Thom was blown up by a command detonated IED, losing both his legs from above the knees down, three fingers, and had severe soft tissue damage to his forearms. Nine days later he woke up at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) in Bethesda MD with injuries that would forever change his life. He spent close to four years rehabilitating in both inpatient and outpatient programs at NNMC and at the VA.
Patriot Thom is currently working toward a degree in Business through Northern Virginia Community College using his Vocational Rehabilitation benefit through the VA. After graduation, he hopes to bring what he learned through personal experience to help not-for-profit Veteran organizations better grasp how to help veterans through the business aspect.
Over the past couple of years, Thom has been involved with numerous organizations that range from veteran’s health and fitness, veteran’s golf, and the Veterans Wellness Initiative in his local community. He was part of the first competing platform that housed injured combat veterans called the “Wounded Working Games.” He competed the first three years, but missed this last year after being introduced to the game of golf. He said he always saw other disabled veterans playing golf, so he thought it was time to give that a try. The first thing he noticed when playing the game with other vets was it was a great way to relax, decompress, and talk with people going through some of the same things with which you can relate.
Due to his injures Nick, was medically retired from the Marine Corps and now lives in Haymarket, VA with his wife Samantha. He is a life member of the MOPH, VFW, and several other veterans organizations. While Thom was in the hospital he had a hand in putting together an organization called “Serve Our Willing Wounded.” This organization brings veterans from the hospital at WRNNMC, to an ADA, 4 star bed and breakfast, getting them out of the hospital for the weekends. Nick also belongs to the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA). At first, he was just attending a clinic to learn how to play, but worked his way up to volunteering and is now an ambassador for the sport. Nick is working on lots of great things to help not only his fellow veterans, but his community as well. He is still a young man with a whole lifetime ahead of him -- A lifetime of helping those who are in need or are less fortunate than he is.
Dave Luzzi, tournament director, will present the Quilt of Valor to Nicholas Thom immediately following the lunch.
Dataw Island is a gated golf community fifteen minutes outside of downtown Beaufort. The island features two recently renovated Tom Fazio and Arthur Hills golf courses, a tennis center, a Community Center with workout /massage facilities, two restaurants and croquet lawns. The community has also been ranked the number one best retirement destination in South Carolina for the past six months of 2015 by www.bestretirementdestinations.com.