HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Monday, Golfers teed up to honor the men and women who fought for our country’s freedom, with a day on the green.

“For our round of golf or for anything, to be around other veterans is an understanding that’s hard to describe. It fits like an old slipper.,” said Roger L. Woodworth, a U.S. Army and National Guard Veteran, who now serves as a Chairman for Higher Ground. “It’s meaningful, and it gets veterans out that may not have played Wanakah before, it gets them introduced to a new sport, but really what it is about is the comradery and the buidling of the fellowship.”

The local chapter of Higher Ground is one of the nationwide non-for-profit organizations that was a part of the fundraising event, that helps veterans connect with other veterans through recreational therapy activities and programs. They help veterans that have polytrauma, military sexual trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Traumatic Brain Injury.

“A couple things that are great about events like this, is that it builds awareness not only for the veterans, which we honor, remember, that continue to serve even after the trumpets and exuberance of the war have faded, there’s still veterans around, so this is a great event to honor and recognize that service,” said Woodworth.

This was the sixth annual “Tee It Up for Troops” events, that started with a Dinner on Saturday and held their annual golf tournament at the Wanakah Country Club in Hamburg. On Monday morning, they had an opening ceremony prior to the tournament, with the Air Force honor guard and a flag folding ceremony to honor George Boulder, a local veteran.

Last year, the event’s keynote speaker Justin Constantine, who served in the Marines, who took a bullet to his head in 2006. He spoke about the postives and the gratitude he had for serving his country.

“He made a comment, Justine did, that the individuals, post 9/11, who joined our nation to serve our country, wrote a blank check to this nation. They were writing a blank check, and it was up to the nation to cash that check,” said Thomas Waring Jr, the 2022 Co-Chair of the event. “Justine’s check was ultimately cashed, he paid a significant price.”

Justin passed away from cancer on this past May, and the organization continues to honor him and all the veterans who put their lives on the line for our country.

“This is about honoring, respecting our veterans, showing them our appreciation for their service to this country and their sacrifices,” said Waring.

According to organizers, this year, the events combined have raised up to $140,000 that will go towards the many non-for-profit organizations that took part, and continue to use their actions to help veterans in WNY, but throughout the nation as well.

Programs that were apart of the event were The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S.), Higher Ground, the Fisher House Foundation and the WNY chapter of the PGA Hope Foundation.

To find out more information the “Tee it Up for The Troops” and any of the organization involved in the event, or to donate towards their missions, click on their websites above.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.