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The fairway of charity

America's Credit Union leads annual efforts

James Luther tees off during America’s Credit Union’s 16th annual Turkey Shoot, an event that benefits soldiers and their families. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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The thwack of the three-wood announced the launch of a golf ball over the green of the fairway and toward the distant firs.

"This is the tenth time I've been out here," commented Andrew Oczkewicz, the United Service Organization's (USO's) director of operations at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said before teeing off.

"Part of the fun of being out here today is the weather - at times it has been awful, but today it is great."

The notion of a bad day of golf is better than a good day in the office resonated with many of the 107 participants in last Friday's Turkey Shoot at Eagles Pride Golf Course.

McKenna Wehrer of Cigar Daddies lights Vick Orlando’s cigar during the 16th annual Turkey Shoot sponsored by America’s Credit Union. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"This is a great, great deal," said Army veteran James Luther, as he teed up his ball.

"We're outside, the weather is great, our company is a sponsor and we get to go out and play golf.  What could be better?"

With that kind of attitude, the purpose of the American Credit Union's 16th annual Turkey Shoot and Holiday Troop Support Golf Tournament becomes clear.

A Turkey Shoot (sometimes called a Turkey Scramble) is a golf tournament in which two-person teams play a mix of golf variations.

The first six holes are a "scramble;" the middle six holes are "alternate shots;" the final six holes are "best ball."

The shoot is challenging, fun and, in this case, all about raising money.

And like a well-hit ball, ACU scored a hole-in-one with this tournament.

"There is no doubt where we stand when it comes to the support of our troops and their families," explained Amber Young, ACU's community liaison.  

"ACU and its chief executive officer, Ken Leonard, have taken the lead in this."

Founded in 1954, ACU has built a reputation of service to government employees and servicemembers through giving back to the community it serves.

"This is all about community," continued Young.

ACU Turkey Shoot drives the ball of committed organization down the fairway of selfless service.

"The proceeds of this tournament will ensure that the troops and their families who need some help will receive it from Santa's Castle, the Madigan Foundation and the Food Basket Program during the holidays and beyond," continued Young.

Over the last 15 years, ACU and its community partners have raised over $500,000 in donations.

This year added nicely to that amount; about $40,000 was raised.

"We donate what's needed," commented Vick Orlando, an announcer on 950 KJR, as McKenna Wehrer, an owner of Cigar Daddies, lit his cigar.

"This is a great day to show support for the troops."

ACU acknowledges the generosity and help of the Nisqually Red Wind Casino, the USO Northwest, TwinStar Credit Union, Hotel Murano, Sound Credit Union, I-5 Design, Swarner Communications, the Defense Credit Union Council, UPS Store Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Access Softek and Quinault Beach Resort and Casino.

"We are here for our troops and their families," continued Young.  "And the ACU team supports this community." 

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