Third year of Tee it up for the Troops event

Third annual Tee it up for the Troops benefit golf tournament returns to Bunker Hills Golf Course, Coon Rapids, Thursday, Aug. 15.

Singer Tim Mahoney performs “God Bless America.” File photo

Singer Tim Mahoney performs “God Bless America.” File photo

Registration opens at 10 a.m. and lunch will be served at 11 a.m. in The Harvest Grill, which is located in the Bunker Hills Clubhouse.

Prior to the 18-hole scramble shotgun start at 12:45 p.m., there will be an opening ceremony at noon. A dinner banquet at The Harvest Grill immediately follows the golf tournament.

By the end of last week, 34 fivesomes – a foursome plus a celebrity – had signed up, a number which is on pace with the previous two years of the event, according to Tournament Director Pat Reis.

“We could use a few more golfers and are hoping there will be late rush of golfers signing up,” Reis said.

Celebrities come from sports, media and entertainment.

Reis listed some of the celebrities that will be part of the Tee it up for the Troops event.

They include Randall McDaniel, former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman and National Football League hall of famer; Ricky Foggie, former University of Minnesota football quarterback; Chan Poling, member of the Suburbs and New Standard bands; Scott Seroka, KARE 11; Ron Johnson, former Gopher and NFL football player; Alex Bunbury, former Canadian international soccer player who played for his country in the FIFA World Cup; and sports media personalities Larry Fitzgerald Sr., Eric Gislason and Rod Simons

The opening ceremonies, to which the public is invited, will be emceed by John Kriesel, the tournament chairperson.

Kriesel, an Iraq War veteran, served one term in the Minnesota House of Representatives and is now the Anoka County Veterans Service Officer.

The guest speaker is Brig. Gen. Neal Loidolt, director of joint staff for the Minnesota National Guard, serving as principal adviser to the adjutant general on joint matters and responsible for the operational capability of Minnesota’s joint staff.

He has been a member of the Minnesota National Guard for more than 27 years and a full-time soldier for close to 20 years.

Loidolt has served two tours of duty in Iraq and in the second from May 2009 to February 2010, he was chief of staff for the 34th Infantry Division stationed in Basra.

According to Reis, the ceremony will also include the Minnesota National Guard Honor Guard, the rifle squad from the Anoka County chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, a pipe and drum band and the bell of honor.

Members of the national Tee it up for the Troops organization will be in attendance and special guests will be the Beardsley family of Anoka County, whose son was killed in action in Iraq while serving his country, Reis said.

In the 2011 and 2012 tournaments, $20,000 was raised each year for the Tee it up for the Troops program, he said.

“We are on track to reach that figure again this year, perhaps a little more,” Reis said.

Tee it up for the Troops, Inc. was established in 2005 to help support the fallen and disabled members of the military and their families.

The National Day of Golf was subsequently created with numerous golf outings throughout the country where proceeds benefit veterans of all branches and conflicts.

“This is our way to salute all those who have answered the call of duty,” Kriesel wrote on the Tee it up for the Troops website seeking sponsors and golfers for the Bunker Hills tournament.

“The needs of military veterans and their families are only partially being met. It is time to step up and show our appreciation for their courage and service.”

Sponsorship packages range from $5,000 to $250

For more information or to sign up for a round a golf contact Reis at 612-636-3905 or email TeeItUpCoonRapids@gmail.com.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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