MANCHESTER - In a little less than a week 132 people will hit the links at the Manchester Country Club for the third annual Wounded Warrior Golf Tournament.

Thirty-three teams will be participating in the event next Wednesday, Sept. 3, which is consistent with what they have had in the past, according to chairman of the 2014 Wounded Warriors Golf Committee, Donald Keelan.

"All the teams are locked in now," said Keelan. "We try to close it at 30 teams."

The concept for the Wounded Warrior Golf Tournament - which is not affiliated with the National Wounded Warrior Project - arose about four years ago when three gentlemen met at Garlic John's and began discussing how to raise awareness for the plight of the wounded warrior. The three men eventually came to the conclusion that perhaps a good way to accomplish the goal was to have a golf tournament that wounded warriors participated in followed by a dinner.

The idea took off and, according to Keelan, the fact that wounded warriors are participating in the tournament is a big reason for the amount of support the event receives.

"The appeal for so many of the golfers is the 34 wounded warriors who will be participating," said Keelan. "No question about it. That's the main draw. That's why people want to particpate both financially and physically."

Though there are 132 people expected to participate in Wednesday's tournament, Keelan said that tournament is also greatly supported by people who do not play.


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"The lions share of what we're able to distribute to the five organizations that are receiving the funds, it's because of people that are not able to participate," he said. "That's both individuals and businesses."

Keelan said that they are hoping that the net amount that they will be able to distribute to the five organizations - which includes The Friends of the Vermont Veterans Home, The Bennington Veterans and Family Outreach Center, the Bennington County Meals Program (Meals on Wheels), Dodge House in Rutland, and Purple Heart reunited - will be in excess of $50,000.

"We're budgeting that and we plan to do that," said Keelan. "If we are able to acheive our goal, which I think we will, we will have donated $110,000 to these organizations collectively over the three years."

The keynote speaker at this year's event will be former Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Kaat. Kaat was a three-time All-Star, 16-time Gold Glove winner and helped the St. Louis Cardinals win a World Series Championship in 1982. He is now a sportscaster and a resident of Manchester.

The USO Liberty Bells will also perform during the event.

The tournament, which features a shotgun start, begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Manchester Country Club.