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STEELE CREEK --
For Sherry Leopold, Sept. 15 will be a day for remembering. She hopes others will take the opportunity, too.
Leopold is organizing the Judge Richard Leopold Memorial Golf Tournament to be held that day at The Palisades Country Club. The event benefits Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit that aids wounded military service personnel and their families. Leopolds son Jeff, a lieutenant colonel at Fort Bragg with seven deployments in 15 years, and daughter Erin, formerly in the Army along with her husband, served as inspiration for the cause.
We have a tendency as a country to forget, Leopold said.
Active military and veterans with a Purple Heart play free. A team is coming up from Fort Bragg to play. The captains choice event includes several contests and more than $1,000 in prizes, including a few goofy prizes to honor Richard Leopold, who passed away while playing golf with his wife at the course.
He loved this area and he loved helping with two causes, Sherry Leopold said. People with developmental disabilities and wounded soldiers and their families.
The Leopolds spent all our married life playing golf, Sherry said, and often participated in charitable events. After Sept. 11, 2001 their attention turned to military personnel, mainly after their son was injured just a couple of months into combat in Afghanistan. The family learned that injury isnt just something that soldiers and their families may live through, but also live with.
We realized what we went through and how lucky we were to have him, Leopold said.
John Wavrick, director of golf and general manager at The Palisades Country Club, said that his group wanted to support its members in hosting the tournament. The Wounded Warrior cause made the decision easy.
We take care of our members and we take care of our military, Wavrick said. Its the patriotic thing to do.
Wavrick wants to help keep alive the memory of Richard Leopold, and combining his loves of golf and military awareness seemed a good way.
Obviously at the club here we want to be supportive of our troops, Wavrick said. Theyre out there protecting our freedom.
According to woundedwarriorproject.org, improved battlefield medicine and body armour mean that more U.S. soldiers are coming home from conflict during the past decade than they were in past decades. In the World Wars, there were 1.7 soldiers wounded per every soldier killed. In Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, there were seven wounded for every one killed.
Recent military conflicts have resulted in more than 47,000 injured. An estimated 400,000 more came home with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or similar issues, and another 320,000 may have experienced traumatic brain injury while on deployment.
Fees for the Sept. 15 tournament are $125 per person or $500 per team of four, which includes breakfast and lunch. Registration is requested by Sept. 1. For more information, visit thepalisadescc.com. For more on Wounded Warrior, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.