GratitudeAmerica golf event to assist military

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Newnan resident Joe Guerra, head of Sequoia Golf, offered to host the GratitudeAmerica event at Flat Creek Club, which recently underwent extensive renovations and improvements.

America's veterans earned our appreciation and respect by serving their country with dignity, honor and courage.

But as the number of veterans swells each day, it becomes more difficult for these men and women to receive the care and support they earned while in uniform.

A new organization, GratitudeAmerica (www.gratitudeamerica. org), is working to increase local support to veterans by creating a network of specially-trained volunteers dedicated to connecting local veterans and their families with the services they need and to which they are entitled.

The effort requires substantial funding, and Coweta area residents have an opportunity to support a great cause and have a great time by participating in the inaugural GratitudeAmerica Golf Tournament July 7 at Flat Creek Golf Club in Peachtree City.

GratitudeAmerica volunteers will personally help veterans connect with local providers of services ranging from healthcare and wellness to employment and even assistance with family relationships, which often suffer during long and frequent deployment of service members.

Newnan's Dick Stender is a Vietnam veteran who has been active in local veterans organizations for decades and served as commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Newnan post.

'Our local veteran organizations already do a great job assisting veterans, but the current care package certainly has some holes in it,' Stender said. 'A program like this would be a big help to any veteran. I'm behind anyone who is working to help our vets one-on-one.'

The program is getting started in north Florida, but if events like the Gratitude-America Golf Tournament are successful, local volunteers could soon be assisting local veterans.

'We don't have anything like that in Coweta County now and this sounds ideal,' Stender said.

GratitudeAmerica was founded by retired airline executive Lewis Jordan, a former resident of Coweta and Fayette counties who remains deeply involved in local causes. Jordan is best known locally as the cofounder of AirTran Airlines.

Jordan and his wife began GratitudeAmerica as a way to show their appreciation for those who have contributed to the Jordan family's personal blessings.

'After careful consideration, we concluded that there is no one more deserving than our veterans, their families, and families of the fallen,' said Jordan. 'They go out and risk life and limb and family for us, so we feel very strongly about this.'

GratitudeAmerica officials – all of whom serve as volunteers – decided a golf tournament would be an ideal way to raise funds and awareness in the Atlanta area.

They approached Newnan resident Jo e Guerra, whose company, Sequoia Golf, owns and manages 35 golf clubs in Georgia, Texas and Colorado. Guerra's clubs include Canongate and White Oak in Coweta County and Flat Creek, Braelinn and Planterra Ridge in Peachtree City.

Guer ra and hi s fami ly are st rong suppor ters of the local community, and Guerra offered to host the event at Flat Creek Club in Peachtree City, which recently underwent extensive renovations and improvements.

The day-long fest ivities will include 18 holes of championship-quality golf, a special dinner, a silent auction and a raff le for a 2014 Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Entertainment will feature Coweta's Corbette Jackson, a rising country music star who shot to fame in 2011 with his song 'Heart of a Champion,' which hit the top five on the country charts.

Organizers have pulled out all the stops to make sure the first GratitudeAmerica Golf Tournament is a huge success.

Golfers may register as teams or individuals and applications are still being accepted. Registrations can be arranged by calling Jason Jordan at 678-570-2375 or Debi Rogers at 770-502-9090, or by emailing info@gratitudeamerica.org .



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