10th annual Salute To Heroes Open Golf Tournament has deeper meaning
"When you come to a community like this, with Fred and this tournament, where they're here with open arms, now you feel you're ok, and now you can continue to move forward," said retired staff sergeant Clifton Hoffler.
For its 10th year in a row, the Salute to Heroes Open Golf Tournament is impacting the lives of veterans and their families.
"This is an open community they really love veterans here so it's always good to come where people want you to come and feel that you are family and they will take care of you," said Hoffler.
More than 100 veterans and their supporters came out this morning to chip in and benefit local military families looking to change their lives one swing at a time.
Retired sergeant Clifton Hoffler served 22 years in the military, and during some of those years he was stationed in areas like Iraq and Baghdad. But when he came back home he found himself suffering from severe depression and PTSD.
"You were in combat, it's very stressful, you saw some of your buddies die which I did. One of my soldiers was killed and died in my arms so those things put you in a bad place," said Hoffler.
"I've had some pretty close up front opportunities to see the effects that those wars have on our young people, I still work for the military and salute the military golf is such a great program and it's such a great outreach," said tournament director Fred Naigle.
Struggling and in a dark place, Hoffler says the Salute Members Golf Association, who puts on the annual tournament, came to him at a critical point in his life which ultimately saved his life.
"When Salute Members Golf Association came they said hey look, come out let's hit a few balls. Then they said come out again we got a clinic. They said come out one more time and they started inviting me to tournaments so that's kind of how that progression went," said Hoffler.
Hoffler and other veterans participating in the tournament add that they don't know where'd they'd be today if it wasn't for the golf association giving them a chance to find themselves again.
"A lot of us don't think that anybody understands where we are. So for us being with other veterans being with those who've been where we've been they understand us," said Hoffler.
Organizers of the event add that if you're interested in participating in the golf tournament next year you can simply head to their website at the http://lylememorialfoundation.com/ for more details.