With one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the world just down the street from our headquarters here in Oceanside, Veterans Day is always a special day for our community and Linksoul family.
This year was especially meaningful for us, as we celebrated the third year of our partnership with Warrior Canine Connection, and made new friends at Fairways For Freedom (FFF), a non-profit that takes combat-injured veterans on therapeutic golf retreats around the world.
The partnership with FFF began with a chance meeting at the PGA Show in early 2019. Intrigued by our tagline of MAKE PAR NOT WAR, a young man walked into the Linksoul booth and asked to meet our co-founder, John Ashworth.
Not long after shaking hands, the young man shared the story of his traumatic combat experience in Afghanistan. With tears streaming down his face, he told John about returning home from war, twice attempting to kill himself, and how a golf trip to Ireland with other combat-injured veterans had literally helped save his life.
John was stunned by the young man’s story, and emotionally moved by his honesty, vulnerability, and courage. After a long conversation, the two embraced and John promised that Linksoul would do whatever we could to help FFF and their humble mission to help heal our nation’s heroes.
Looking back, we now realize that that conversation led to a linking of souls, and the eventual opportunity for our company to make an impact with a group of combat-injured veterans.
Over the next few months we came to know the young man, Air Force veteran Jason Miller, very well.
In early September, Jason helped our team outfit 32 combat-injured veterans and ambassadors with Linksoul rain gear and polos ahead of a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort in Ireland.
In mid-September, Jason was the guest of honor and keynote speaker at The Broken Tee Jail Break, a charity event we co-hosted with our friends at The Golfer’s Journal to raise funds for FFF. The sold out event included golf and a silent auction that featured golf experiences and art from Linksoul co-founder Geoff Cunningham, and many of our friends in the golf community. In the end, we helped raise over $25,000 for FFF, enough to send approximately eight combat-injured veterans on the trip to Ireland next year.
None of this happens without a young, combat-injured veteran walking into our booth at the PGA Show and deciding to share his incredible story. We are grateful for the opportunity to say thank you to military veterans everywhere, and to give back to a community that has sacrificed so much.
Less than one percent of Americans have served in the military. On this Veterans Day, we salute that one percent - those brave Americans who have stood up and answered the call. They are an inspiration to Linksouldiers everywhere. We are in awe of their selfless service and courage, and are forever grateful for their sacrifice in defense of our freedom.
Since 2017, we have partnered with Warrior Canine Connection, a veterans charity that enlists recovering combat veterans in a therapeutic mission of learning to train service dogs for their fellow veterans. We donate 10 percent of our sales of select “Make Par Not War” items to WCC and other veteran’s charities near to our hearts and our home here in Oceanside, CA. Most importantly, our continued thanks to all veterans for their service to our country. None of this happens without you.
We are truly grateful.
Words by Joshua Stueve
Photos provided by Jason Miller and official event photographer for TGJ Broken Tee Jail Break