“We need a chairperson, someone who will run a golf fundraiser for Flag Day. You can choose any charity and any golf format you want” said the Ladies Golf Chairperson. Laurie Matasar and Lynn Gaby glanced at each other, gave the nod, and raised our hands.
That was in 2014. Today, the friends of 30 years are preparing for their third annual Flag Day Charity Event benefitting Honor Flight Chicago.
“As soon we discovered Honor Flight Chicago, we knew we wanted to focus our fundraising efforts on honoring our senior war veterans who so proudly and bravely fought for our freedom,” Gaby said.
The members at their golf club embraced the idea.
“Everyone knows a veteran,” Gaby said. “They have a father, a brother, an uncle, a son or daughter who served or are serving in our military. I think everyone, golfer or not, feels the pride for these men and women who sacrificed for our everyday freedom.”
As chairpersons, Gaby and Matasar structured the event to make it inclusive for all levels of players. They got their caddie master (who also is a veteran) to encourage golfers to dig deep for a donation, and the pro shop got involved in promotion and donating prizes. The halfway house attendant made up a brilliant flyer, which was posted in the clubhouse, on lockers and in email blasts.
With their first fundraiser, Gaby and Matasar raised enough money to sponsor a veteran’s day of honor. The following year, they doubled their total, raising more than $2,000.
“The pride we feel for giving our veterans a day of honor in Washington, D.C. remains robust,” Gaby said. “We look forward to continuing our fundraising and hope to inspire other golf courses to seize the Flag Day concept and implement it at their course. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”