American flags lined streets and cart paths around the Clubs of Kingwood Saturday, April 28, to honor three local, fallen military heroes who died while serving their country. Approximately 200 golfers, including many veterans, teed off on the Forest and Marsh Courses in the 7th annual Kingwood Fallen Heroes Memorial Golf Tournament. To further demonstrate patriotism and honor, more than 100 golf carts were also decorated with American flags.
The tournament was founded in 2012 by Scott Mitchell to honor three former Kingwood residents who died while serving their country in Middle Eastern combat zones. U.S. Army Sgt. Bill Meeuwsen died in Iraq in 2005; U.S Marine Lance Cpl. Luke Yepsen died in Iraq in 2006; and U.S Marine Sgt. Brandon Bury died in Afghanistan in 2010.
According to Mitchell, “Our primary goal of this event is to continue our promise and commitment to their families that their ultimate sacrifices will never be forgotten. A second goal is to raise funds to help support our active military currently serving in combat zones as well as U.S. veterans and their families here at home with special needs. Our key partners are Blue Star Mothers of America, Hope For the Warriors, Operation Military Embrace, CreatiVets, and Rolling Thunder. Texas Chapter 2 does great work in that regard and our community and sponsors have enabled us to donate more than $465,000 to those and other local groups since we began in 2012. We hope to add another significant amount from our April 28th event.”
To help ensure these fallen heroes are not forgotten, the organization, in conjunction with Rolling Thunder, jointly fund scholarships each year at Kingwood High School in each hero’s names. This year’s recipients included Aaron Cruseturner, Megan Eichler and Nathaniel Smith. Congratulations to each of these outstanding students and best wishes for continued success.
The day began with a respectful opening ceremony that included a prayer and moment of silence followed by Jason Gunn on bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace;” the Pledge of Allegiance led by the Blue Star Mothers of America; the presentation of the colors/flags presented by a combined Humble ISD Junior ROTC unit; the national anthem sung by Lisa Worthen; and a flyover by the Lone Star Freedom Flight group from Conroe. The ceremony concluded with “Taps” bugled respectfully by Len Valka.
Following golf, the event continued that evening with more than 300 friends and neighbors enjoying dinner provided by BB’s Cafe, a silent auction, a short program featuring comments by Brigadier General Donald MacWillie (U.S. Army Retired), and music throughout the evening by local favorite Mickey Hobbs.
Each dinner table centerpiece was decorated with care package boxes filled with items including snacks, books and other personal items that have since been shipped to soldiers, sailors and marines stationed in foreign lands. For the second consecutive year, approximately 100 boxes were collected, filled and boxed for shipment by employees of Constellation Energy under the leadership of Rachel Mefford. In addition, this year students and teachers at Greentree Elementary in Kingwood collected and filled more than 125 boxes in honor of Bury who attended Greentree as a young student in the late 1980s. At dinner, his two sons, Cole and Cade, who now live near San Diego, were presented with Greentree T-shirts and named honorary “Gators.” These care package efforts supplement similar efforts made by the Blue Star Mothers and Operation Military Embrace on an ongoing basis throughout the year.
Said Mitchell, “It was another great day in our community as we came together to celebrate our heroes and to give something back to those who have given so much. We hope folks will learn more about and support each of our key partner organizations by visiting each of their websites. We also want to thank everyone in our community and our sponsors for once again stepping up to support this most important cause; to remember and honor our local fallen heroes; and to invite everyone to join us again in April of 2019.”