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Valley golf tournament raises funds for military families

Golfers warm up at the Patriot All-America Collegiate Golf Tournament. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

LITCHFIELD PARK, ARIZ. -- America's military heroes are being remembered this weekend at the annual Patriot All-America Collegiate Golf Tournament at the Wigwam resort in Litchfield Park.

A parachute jump, an F-16 fly-by and a Blackhawk helicopter takeoff were all part of Friday morning's opening ceremonies. One hundred collegiate golfers from all over the country will play in the tournament, which raises money for the Folds of Honor Foundation. The group awards college scholarships to the families of fallen or wounded soldiers.

Each golfer will carry the name and story of a soldier on his golf bag. ASU golfer Austin Quick has the name of Sergeant First Class Daniel Susker on his bag.

"His Humvee was bombed in Iraq during a mission," said Quick. "The Folds of Honor Foundation gave his son a full-ride scholarship. I think he's only 6- or 7-years-old right now, but he has a full-ride scholarship to any college he wants to go."

Quick said playing in the Patriot tournament is special.

"You realize out here that there's something bigger than yourself," he said. "You're playing for a fallen soldier. The Folds of Honor Foundation has raised $13 million for the fallen soldiers' families and scholarships for their kids. The whole background of this event is really cool."

Sen. John McCain and Wigwam Resort co-owner Jerry Colangelo are co-chairmen of the Patriot Tournament.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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