There are currently over 3.7 million disabled veterans in the U.S. and many of them are struggling to find a sense of normalcy and a way to reconnect with civilian life and their families.
Because of its proximity to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Fort Belvoir Golf Club's Head Professional at the time, Steve Greiner, saw the need for a rehabilitative golf program up close. He watched veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with physical and mental wounds of war and thought he could help.
In 2008, Steve established the Fort Belvoir Wounded Warrior Golf Program. In the years since, an operating model has been developed that is compatible with many existing golf programs at military installations as well as private and community golf programs. Using this model, military, private and community golf facilities can increase the number of Wounded Warriors, disabled veterans and their families participating in golf activities, and provide benefit from the program's rehabilitative effects.
This proven model demonstrates that the golf community, PGA and LPGA of America Golf Professionals, along with corporate America, stand ready to support the Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veteran communities in its mission to care for their own. Additionally, the foundation will bolster and improve Department of Defense golf facilities through partnering agreements with the services' Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs.
Links to Freedom HERO Model
LInks to Freedom developed the HERO model, a proven four-part program that applies the physical, emotional and social aspects of rehabilitation that is easily adaptable to existing programs and facilities.
Healthy Activities - Rehabilitative golf is a great way to break down barriers and promote healthy, active and physical involvement.
Expand Horizons - Expand the horizons to provide more than rehabilitation. Links to Freedom enables emotional and social connections with other participants to help build confidence and friendships.
Reintegrate - Reintegrate Wounded Warriors and disabled veterans back into their families, work settings, professional relationships and local communities.
Operationalize The Program - Operationalize and refine the program to be modular and exportable to military and civilian golf courses around the country.