Dear Mr. President,
As the Chief Executive Officer of Devil Dog USA, my vision is to help bridge a gap between Veterans and the community. As an organization we have done this by focusing on three pillars: Resources, Recreation and Housing. We have helped thousands of Veterans and community members across the country over the past five years and will continue until we are no longer needed.
As a Marine Veteran, serving eight years with one tour in Iraq, I left the service and immediately fell into hardship returning home to my beloved Bronx, New York. It took me a year before getting back on my feet. With the knowledge and experience on how I got out of that hardship, I started to help other Veterans avoid the same pitfalls I did. That laid the foundation for Devil Dog USA to becoming the benchmark for Veterans services and is the only Veteran 501 (c) 3 non-profit in the Bronx.
For the last three years we have had a golf program dedicated to teaching Veterans an introductory course to golf called, “Veterans Intro to Golf”. We have taught hundreds of Veterans and community members the basics of golf which are broken into three parts: history of golf, basic fundamentals and hands-on instructions with a PGA professional instructor or Veteran instructor.
This program and many of our other ones have garnered us awards from the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, New York State Knights of Columbus, John Jay College, and many others.
Last year, with the board’s approval, we opened the golf program to children in the community. Our work was so receptive that I was awarded Father of the Year for New York City.
This gave us an idea to open our other programs to the children of the community as well.
We have been able to operate with an overall budget of $20,000 with the golf program running on a few hundred dollars a year. How? All staff members are not paid, the instructors are Veterans who have participated in our events and volunteer their time to help community members and all equipment, plus space, is donated. We work hard to generate money for the incidentals such as balls, water, etc. We normally ask local merchants and companies for a $25 donation to cover the cost to teach four individuals per lesson.
As an organization our programs include scuba diving, art classes, employment workshops, town hall meetings, forums and much more. The point of all these programs is to focus on the Veterans but also have it accessible to the community; by integrating both, there’s a sense that they are the same and not a separate category amongst each other.
You pledged that you will donate your presidential salary and I would like to propose Devil Dog USA as your recipient. You have a golf course within my hometown, which I have never been to because I cannot afford it.
I picked up golf as a hobby after being introduced to it when coming back home from the military. After I was taught how to golf, I used that knowledge to teach other Veterans in the Bronx. I found this as a great pastime and very therapeutic but the icing on the cake was that it was a great way to bring Veterans into an atmosphere they may not normally be familiar with and network. The best part is that those who are in the golf community have been very receptive to us and have welcomed us with opened arms.
I hope that you keep your pledge and consider my proposal.
Those of who would like to donate to our GoFundMe Page click here!