I love our big, little town, I also love the beauty surrounding it and the fact that we live in an amazing county with so much diversity and unique culture which shapes who we all are and how we live. Last night I spent a little bit of time out of Santee as I celebrated my dad‘s birthday with my mom and brother at a San Diego Gulls game down at the Sports Arena. For me, it was the perfect way to wrap up an elongated Veterans Day weekend. My dad is, naturally, my favorite veteran and also very humble when it comes to his time serving in the US Navy. Like many veterans, he doesn’t think he is special, but luckily, we know better.
Last Friday the Santee Chamber hosted our inaugural Veterans Appreciation Tournament at Carlton Oaks golf course. A sold out crowd for the tournament was just the beginning of work turned into a beautiful day. We partnered with our local American Legion and VFW posts and businesses stepped up to “host a hero“ and we had more than half of the course filled with veterans whom got to golf with us. They each were given a special medallion to wear throughout the day upon check-in, received special recognition during our awards banquet, and were treated to lunch, golf, dinner, drinks and good times as the crowd started the day with a WWII aircraft flyover. With the support of so many businesses partnering with us throughout the day, my dad was able to join us on the course to kick off the weekend and I was proud to have him on the course.
This tournament wouldn’t have happened without a small but mighty team of staff and volunteers who helped put this whole thing together. Jennae Gonzalez is my work-time partner in crime; she only has availability to be in the office one day a week yet manages to step into events like a rockstar! Doug Whitney helped several years ago when the chamber decided to break off and start hosting our own tournaments again as he really set the groundwork for us to transition this into the event we wanted it to become. Kristopher Shannon (Navy Veteran) was so dedicated and even spent the entire workday with me prepping on Thursday, then committed his wife’s time to be onsite all day Friday! But most importantly I’d like to thank Mike Aiken (Navy Veteran)... Mike is newer to our Board of Directors and his role at Carlton Oaks made this his personal project to ensure success. These people took something as common as a golf tournament and turned it into a day to truly show our thanks and appreciation for the men and women who have served our country. I’m proud of them, their contributions and the event we hosted knowing we were able to truly thank some of those who deserve it more than they know.