Back Row (L-R): Ed Pulido, Senior Vice President & executive director, Folds of Honor Foundation; Staff Sgt. Ramon Padilla, Judith Padilla; Jim Estes, president and founder SMGA; Front Row: Ramon Padilla Jr. and Emily Padilla.
The Folds of Honor Foundation announced a partnership with the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA), in conjunction with a scholarship presentation Monday to the family of Sgt. Ramon Padilla of Wheaton, Md., who was severely wounded while serving in Afghanistan in July 2007.
Padilla was joined by his wife, Judith, and two of their four children at a presentation at the third annual SMGA Golf Tournament at Army Navy Country Club in Fairfax, Va. SMGA was founded by PGA Professional Jim Estes of Germantown, Md., the PGA director of golf at Olney Golf Park in Olney, Md.
The SMGA Tournament attracted more than 120 guests, including Lt. Gen. James D. Thurman, Department of the Army Operations officer (G-3), who is the former Commanding General, Multi-National Division Baghdad (4th Infantry Division) during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2006).
Maj. Ed Pulido, executive director of the Folds of Honor Foundation, announced that any member of the armed services successfully completing the golf instruction program in SMGA would be eligible to apply for scholarship assistance for a spouse or family.
"This is exciting and what we have been hoping to achieve for some time," said Estes. "We have a great staff and we have great members of our armed services in our program."
Pulido praised Padilla and also for the example he has set for remaining in the SMGA program.
"On behalf of the Folds of Honor Foundation, we thank Sgt. Ramon Padilla for his service to our great nation," said Pulido. "He exemplifies the highest ideals of duty and honor of our men and women of the military. Through SMGA, the game of golf has become a beacon for those critically wounded. Golf has offered him an opportunity to show other service members a way of opportunity to better themselves and their families."
Padilla was serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan in July, 2007, when a rocket-propelled grenade severed his left arm and cracked his skull, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury.
SMGA was founded in 2004 to help bring golf to combat-wounded service men and women as a form of mental and physical rehabilitation. Its mission is to provide rehabilitative golf experiences for wounded veterans in an effort to improve their quality of life. SMGA has provided golf equipment, lessons and playing opportunities for more than 300 wounded service members.
The SMGA Tournament raises funds for golf equipment and lessons, and has equipped more than 75 soldiers with properly fitted golf clubs since 2004, and offered free lessons and range balls to nearly 400 combat-wounded soldiers.
Additionally, SMGA enables the rehabilitative benefits of golf to improve the mental and physical condition of every soldier who has participated in a SMGA golf program; and it has provided injured soldiers with individualized player development programs -- offering golf clinics, personal lessons and specialized equipment.
About The Folds of Honor Foundation
Founded in 2007, The Folds of Honor Foundation is a legacy foundation designed to provide scholarships for dependents and spouses of service members that have been killed or disabled as a result of their military service.
About Salute Military Golf Association
Begun in 2004 as a therapeutic outlet for soldiers undergoing prolonged medical treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the SMGA will continue to strive to provide recreational therapy, through the game of golf, to combat-wounded American soldiers injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. While future SMGA programs may not be limited to a particular military conflict, our mission is to engage wounded soldiers in the game of golf as its inherent lessons of discipline, fortitude, and perseverance closely mirror those embodied in our nation’s military credos. The SMGA believes that every soldier matters and should be given the opportunity to learn and improve his or her golf knowledge and skill; the SMGA will provide a venue and mentoring to this end.
About The PGA of America
Since 1916, The PGA of America's mission has been twofold: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf.
By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry.
By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable golf promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf.