By Alexandra Molnar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – An American flag rippled gently in the breeze as a group of four golfers teed off at red, white, and blue tee markers. Eighty-seven retired and active military personnel, friends, and family enjoyed a beautiful day of golf at Marlborough Country Club’s fourth annual Military Appreciation Day Oct. 20.
Three years ago, members of the Marlborough Country Club (MCC) approached General Manager Jeffrey Lawson with the idea to host an event to honor and support military servicemen and women. The members wanted to find a way to thank the MCC’s many active and retired military members for their commitments. The Board of Directors chose the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund (MSLF) as the charity to benefit from the event.
Since Military Appreciation Day began, the MCC has donated over $25,000 to the MSLF. The mission of the MSLF, a nonprofit organization, is to assist children of Massachusetts service members who have died while serving and to honor the service members’ sacrifices. MSLF provides educational assistance grants to these children, whether it is funding for preschool, educational camps or college. This year, the MCC raised $3,000.
“It’s just a great way to get everybody out on the course,” Lawson said.
A variety of people participate, including active and retired servicemen and women, their families, and local fraternal organizations such as the Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959 and the Fraternal Order of Eagles #3565 in Marlborough. The skill level ranges from beginner to active golfer, and MCC encourages paraplegic golfers as well.
All current and retired military personnel and their families golf for free. For non-military participants, 100 percent of their greens fee is donated to the MSLF. Half of the golf cart revenue and food sales are also donated. An outdoor barbecue followed the morning of golf.
“[Military Appreciation Day is] important to the club and the members because we’re so grateful for the service men and women who dedicate their time and effort to do what they do. So we wanted to be able to help those who have sacrificed so much for the country and give back a little,” Lawson said.
The member-generated event has become popular among the members and has gained a steady following. Lawson said that members called him before the event date was announced, asking when it would take place.
A bulletin board assembled outside of the golf pro shop at MCC displayed pictures and stories of fallen service members and their spouses and children.
“You look at the children and the sacrifices that they’ve ultimately made and how this will help them and their future, and that’s pretty gratifying,” Lawson said.
A brief moment of silence commemorated all of Massachusetts’s fallen heroes before the golf carts started out to the 18 holes.
Veterans of many foreign wars, including Korea and Vietnam, came to participate. Dave Prockett, a Vietnam veteran and participant of Military Appreciation Day all four years, said that the event is “great for veterans” and appreciates how MCC holds this event in their honor.
Bill Rivers, a Vietnam veteran living in Hudson said that it is “nice that [MCC] offers this day of celebration.” He enjoys the comradery. “All you had was each other,” he said of his days in service.
One participant, Ron Ragan, came from Cambridge. He heard about Military Appreciation Day from his friend who is a member of the Massachusetts National Guard. Ragan said that attending the event “shows patriotism” and it is important “anytime [people] can recognize military personnel.”