Up until now, the most rewarding committee assignment, by far, was my two years of service on the 2007 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Committee. The delivery of the giant Balsam Tree (along with 90 smaller ones) to our Nation's Capital was indeed a great honor and one to cherish and remember. The tree's convoy visits, to eight Veterans homes and hospitals on the way to Washington was unforgettable.
In December, 2007, upon my return from the Tree Lighting Ceremony, I had never envisioned another committee task that would be as significant and meaningful as the tree assignment - until now.
Since January, I've been meeting monthly along with 10 other Bennington County residents.
This recent committee's charge is to bring to fruition, on Sept. 5, 2012, the first golf outing in Vermont to honor our state's Wounded Warriors.
The 2012 Vermont Wounded Warriors Golf Tournament's primary mission is to raise the awareness of the contribution to our country by those young men and women who have been wounded while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
What makes this committee so different from others that I have served on, is the make-up of its members - four of whom have been awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
What also stands out (and this was much in evidence with the Christmas Tree
The spirit, enthusiasm, and willingness to be engaged is contagious among the committee members. No individual assignment is too big or too small. There has not been any indication that a task cannot be achieved - "let's just get it accomplished" is the phrase most used.
When we needed to obtain a title sponsor for the event, the Plasan North America Corporation, of Bennington, stepped up.
Gifts that will be given to the 30 invited Wounded Warriors was suggested and the Orvis Company was there to fill the request - no questions asked. Instead, we heard "what more might we do?"
The design office of David Van de Water of Arlington and Don Eisner's Express Copy of Manchester have provided an endless stream of design and printing products that have been used to promote the Wounded Warrior event.
As many of you know, you can't have a golf tournament without a "hole in one" event. Thanks to Tom Lyons, of Bennington Subaru, this will be possible on Sept. 5.
The Manchester Country Club along with its golf, business and culinary staff, could not be asked to do any more than what they have come forth with for the Sept. 5 event. The club will host the golf outing, lunch and dinner.
The golf outing has been set up to have 30 golf foursomes, with the "fourth" player being a Wounded Warrior guest. If in fact you wish to sign up a threesome team you will need to do so pretty soon. Once the 30th team has been registered that portion of the event will be closed.
Vermont has experienced a disproportional share of casualties resulting from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more so than any other state.
It is because of this statistic that the event is so meaningful. Another, not too well published statistic concerning veterans, is the fact, that on any given night, there are approximately 350 homeless veterans in Vermont.
While the event is not affiliated in any way with the National Wounded Warrior Project, the committee has decided to donate any excess funds to the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington and to the Shelter for Vermont Homeless Veterans in Rutland.
The wounded warriors have given so much to this country. It is now our time to give back to them.
If you are interested in participating in this worthwhile effort, either as a golfer or donor, call Bob Stearns at the Manchester Country Club-802-362-2233.
Don Keelan writes a bi-weekly column and lives in Arlington