On August 17, 2020, Hope For The Warriors® once again chose beautiful River Landing for its celebrity golf tournament – the 11th Annual Hope For The Warriors Invitational.
Emceed by National Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and National League Gold Glove Award winner Doug Flynn, the event brought out 19 teams to play the 6-person scramble tourney. Flynn noted, “Over the years seeing how many lives have been impacted by HOPE has been amazing! They interact with our service members and their families on a personal level, ensuring everyone gets the individualized care, attention and support they need.”
Due to COVID-19 and the number of precautions and restrictions placed on our nation, there was early conversation about canceling the event altogether. For River Landing, that just wasn’t an option. Dell and Wendy Murphy were determined to move forward with the event in some capacity because, as Wendy was quick to point out, “The pandemic hasn’t slowed down Hope For The Warriors. They are still working with our heroes and they are still operating within their mission. The event must go on to support them!” That dedication led to an idea of hosting this year’s event as a reunion for past celebrities, golfers, veterans, warriors, and the like. Anyone who participated in the past was invited to return. There were no sponsorships this year and no golf fees, but instead, the event was merely a showcase of support that River Landing and the Murphy Family are committed to the organization.
As golfers showed up on the day of the tournament, they were able to get warmed up on the driving range and enjoy breakfast, which was sponsored by Smithfield Foods and prepared by the banquet staff of River Landing. The tournament then began with a beautiful presentation of colors by the 2nd Marine Logistics Group from Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, followed by a welcome from both River Landing Director of Golf Operations, Larry George, and HOPE co-founder and CEO/President, Robin Kelleher. Next, it was time for a shotgun start and the first golfers headed to the tee box, ready to enjoy a beautiful day of golf in honor of all the service members, veterans, military families and families of the Fallen in our community and nation.
A late lunch was provided by Highway 55 that allowed hungry golfers to enjoy the restaurant’s trademark all-American diner experience by way of hamburgers, hot dogs, and even a sundae bar!
After all the teams reported in, Larry George delivered a few announcements and declared the winners. The runner-up team consisted of Dave Fussell (member), Patty George (m), Guy White (m), Don Hancock, Joshua Kivett, and Josh Boyd. The winners of the tournament with a score of 55 strokes were Wade Leatham, Steve Thompson, Ron Himsworth (m), Daniel Hardesty, and Cheryl Nichols (m). Once the winners were recognized, Kelleher delivered a word of appreciation to River Landing for its continued commitment to HOPE. Kelleher also noted that, despite a year like no other given pandemic complications, the tournament was able to raise more than $36,000 towards the mission of HOPE – helping veterans, service members, and military families with needs that include clinical health and wellness, sports and recreation and transitional services.
The event closed with a special presentation to Dell and Wendy Murphy from Hope For The Warriors. In a moving gesture, Kelleher presented the couple with an over-sized pair of camouflage and white New Balance golf cleats signed by the celebrities and warriors who made the 2020 tournament the incredible event it was!