From the first tee at Sanford International, patriotism and gratitude to our military heroes is a driving force connecting many in the crowd.
“It is very humbling to meet all these men and women who have served this country. To hear their stories,” said Captain Paul Weckman, who retired from the United States Navy.
Weckman, the chief of military and veterans affairs at Sanford Health, volunteered to host a special rally on hole 17 to honor those who served.
“Thank you Sanford”
Vietnam veteran Terry Kohler attends some of the PGA Tour Champions action for free with a friend.
“You feel good,” Kohler said of the gesture. “This had never happened before.”
The Marine is a Sanford patient and says the organization’s respect for the military is right there on the front door when he goes to appointments at his clinic.
“I think it’s ‘Veterans Welcome,'” Kohler said, referring to the sign at the entrance.
The expression was not a “gimmick” for those returning from the war.
“For the first 15 or 20 years it was unreal. They didn’t care about us. Now there’s a big change,” Kohler said. “Thank you Sanford.”
Employer and Provider of Choice for Veterans
Meeting the needs of veterans is not just a marginal priority for Sanford Health.
“For those on active duty, for those in the Guard and Reserve, we want to be your employer of choice. If you want to transition and come work for Sanford, we’ll take care of you,” Weckman said.
In addition to flexible hours for those actively serving the country, the organization offers veterans scholarships and the Sanford Veterans Career Development Grant for employees. This is a maximum annual grant of $3,000 that staff can use to advance their careers.
Weckman adds, “If you come to Sanford Health for care and treatment, we want to be your provider of choice.”
Air Force veteran Dave Rowe volunteers at the Sanford USD Medical Center Veterans Club in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He has also participated in the golf tournament for five years.
“I think they do an amazing job of making sure veterans are honored in the hospital,” Rowe said. “It makes me feel good. I like it.
“I’m proud to be a veteran, so I’m very happy Sanford is doing this.”
It’s deep support that fills Weckman’s cup.
“It’s the right thing to do, it’s as simple as that when you think about the sacrifices. I choke on it, but -” Weckman said through tears.
“It’s very rewarding. My calling.
Posted in Golf, Sanford International, Sanford Sports, Veterans