Golfers support veterans at GIVE Foundation event

Foundation provides veterans golf instruction, friendly competition

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RIVERSIDE — The golf is important, but more important to the GIVE Foundation is the recognition the game gives injured veterans.

The GIVE Foundation (Golf for Injured Veterans Everywhere) was founded in 2007 to give injured veterans instruction on the game of golf.

It includes four levels of instruction: an introduction to golf, indoor instruction at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, outdoor practice at Blue Top Ridge Golf Course, and finally golf, with a possible competition component, at Blue Top Ridge.

The program is a partnership between the VA Health Care System of Iowa City, the Iowa PGA Section, and Blue Top Ridge at Riverside and works to help veterans heal from physical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Thursday’s annual outing is the foundation’s biggest fundraiser, and all who were in attendance recognized the importance of the event.

Jim Dickerson is an Army veteran whose 23 years included a tour in Vietnam and serves as the Director of Instruction for the GIVE foundation. He has worked with the foundation since 2008 and also serves as the PGA Teaching Professional at Finkbine Golf Course in Iowa City.

“Number one, it brings awareness to the community that there are organizations out there that are supporting our veterans, and number two, it gives them an opportunity to participate. With a fundraiser like this and people that want to be involved in the community, it gives them an avenue,” Dickerson said.

Thursday’s outing drew veterans from all branches and local citizens, including several known faces.

Iowa men’s basketball assistant Sherman Dillard participated in the tournament and considers himself lucky to be able to do so.

“Fortunately for us, we live in a community where people do want to give back, and they do care,” Dillard said. “I feel good being out here.”

The attitude of caring was on display by all who attended on Thursday.

Kyle Comer and Don Hartvitsen served in the Navy in Vietnam and Army in Korea, respectively, and both played in the outing.

“You get to meet vets that you’ve never met before, hear their stories, and exchange stories of course,” Comer said. “It’s great for camaraderie.

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