Steve Smith knows he needs to start small, but his eventual yearly goal is to put one child through four years of college.
He plans to do this with an annual golf tournament through the Parker chapter of the Folds of Honor Foundation, a national nonprofit, and Patriot Golf Day, which was created by a PGA professional who served in Iraq. The beneficiary will be the child of an armed forces member who sacrificed his or her life for the country or was wounded in action.
Smith, a Parker resident since 2001, says this year, the aim is to raise enough money to pay for one semester of college. He has participated in similar tournaments and contributed to the foundation for five years, and now has decided to get more involved by founding the Parker event at Black Bear Golf Club.
“I’m passionate about the people who give us the right to be free,” he said.
With the help of his wife, Ella, family friends Mary and Mike White, and about 10 volunteers, Smith has thus far gathered 12 foursomes to play in the inaugural Folds of Honor Benefit Golf Tournament.
Each player paid $100 for a round of golf at the private club, driving range access, a cart and lunch. The shotgun start at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 21 will signify the beginning of what Smith hopes to build into a well-known annual event that sends several kids to college.
Golfers will go to the Tailgate Tavern and Grill for lunch, as well as a silent auction and raffle to benefit Folds of Honor. The Tailgate Tavern is among the many businesses contributing to the first annual event.
Volunteer Tim Swanson, a teacher at Cherry Creek High School, visited dozens of local companies to secure donations for the silent auction.
Smith was inspired by his 83-year-old father, a veteran of the Korean War, as well as the founder of Patriot Golf Day, Maj. Dan Rooney.
“These are our armed forces who are no longer with us anymore and their kids need to go to school,” he said.
To date, more than 3,500 scholarships have been awarded by the Oklahoma-based Folds of Honor Foundation. Folds of Honor-Parker hopes to raise between $10,000 and $25,000 this year. And Smith said he hopes he keeps his composure while speaking about the cause to the participants during lunch. He says Parker is the perfect place to raise scholarship money for military families.
“We live in a patriotic place. When you when strike them at the core, they step up to the plate,” he said. “My hope is that the Parker community becomes a primary supporter of this effort.”
To sign up or become a sponsor, visit www.foldsofhonor-parker.org or call Smith at 720-635-3224.
Time/date: 7:30 a.m. Sept. 21
Place: Black Bear Golf Club
Cost: $100/per person
Sign-up info: www.foldsofhonor-parker.org