Oaks to host golf tournament for troops

COVINGTON - Just because the military is beginning to pull troops from Iraq does not mean that we should forget about those who remain.

In cooperation with The Oaks Golf Course, Operation Sandbox is holding a golf tournament in hopes of generating money to provide American soldiers with the little things which make a big impact.

"The money will be used for care packages and little things they don't normally have access to," Oaks head golf professional Andy Bowman said. "Sort of make a little piece of home."

Some of the items purchased include lotion and sunscreen, dental floss, lip balm, cotton balls and Q-Tips, flavored water mixes, beef jerky, hard candy, batteries, pop tarts, instant macaroni and cheese, and Power Bars.

"Other items which they are always wanting are toilet paper and bottled water," Oaks director of golf Dick Schultz said. "(Virginia Pearson) does a great job with this. She's a one-person show who really works her tail off."

"Dick Schulz found this charity last year through Virginia Pearson, she's the person in charge," Bowman said. "The Christmas tournament last year was a direct fundraiser to help. That was the adopted charity for my Christmas tournament. This year they wanted to do their own event. Something they can call the Operation Sandbox Tournament."

Bowman's tournament raised approximately $1,000 for the group last year, an amount matched by The Oaks.

The money helped Operation Sandbox send more than 8,000 pounds of items last year - a lot more than the 420 pounds sent in their first effort in 2004 when it was simply going to be a one-time event to send Christmas stockings.

Rather than handing out the packages randomly, each package is individually addressed to each soldier in a particular unit.

Any item not wanted by the soldier is either given or exchanged to someone who wants it or it is given to some of the local residents.

There have been seven teams sign up so far, lower than the 25 Schulz was hoping for.

"The economy has really hurt a lot of charities," he said. "We also need to try to get some corporate sponsors."

The cost for the Operation Sandbox Tournament is $65 per person with a team consisting of four players playing a scramble format. Included in the price is golf, lunch and prizes.

There is also going to be a putting contest with the winner getting a year membership at The Oaks.

For more information, call The Oaks at 770-786-3801, ext. 3.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.