2015 Golf and Tennis Classic
Participants and sponsors of the 9th Annual MVAT Foundation Golf & Tennis Classic enjoyed a moving and event-filled day supporting America’s Veterans. Held August 17, 2015 at the MountainGate Country Club in Los Angeles, the Classic opened with recognition of four attending Medal of Honor recipients and other distinguished military guests. After an Armed Forces Color Guard presented the colors, Ms. Vanessa Bryan delivered an incredible rendition of the national anthem. As four WWII-period AT-6 airplanes of the Condor Squadron roared overhead, more than 100 golf carts paraded onto the golf course.
Nearly 200 golfers and 30 tennis players enjoyed sunny skies and abundant hospitality as they joined together to raise funds for the Foundation in support of its Heroes Linked program as well as to provide grants to carefully vetted charities supporting Veterans and their families
The Golden Stars skydiving team of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department kicked off the post play reception. Jumping at 15,000 feet, the four skydivers landed within yards of the cheering crowd, the last one trailing a 30-foot American flag.
The capacity crowd of more than 400 was introduced to Jennie Garth, star of the mega hit television series Beverly Hills 90210, who served as the evening’s emcee. After a welcome and organizational update from MVAT Foundation Chairman Don Schwarz, Ron Rand, Chairman and CEO of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, introduced the four Medal of Honor recipients in attendance. They are Colonel Jack Jacobs, Captain Thomas G. Kelley, Command Sergeant Major Gary Littrell, and Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha.
Mr. Denis Oliverio of K9s For Warriors, accompanied by his K9 companion, Winchester, next spoke to the audience about the importance of the MVAT Foundation grant to his organization, which rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to by therapy and companion dogs for combat wounded Veterans, like Mr. Oliviero, a former Marine Corps first lieutenant who was severely wounded in Iraq.
The evening’s keynote speaker was Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha, who received the Medal of Honor for his role in the successful defense of Combat Outpost Keating, located near the town of Kamdesh in eastern Afghanistan and manned by just 54 U.S. and Latvian soldiers. On October 3, 2009, a Taliban force numbering more than 300 attacked Combat Outpost Keating, sited in an exposed location with high peaks all around. Staff Sergeant Romesha rallied the defenders and then repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to draw the attackers away from wounded comrades. The October 2009 action later became known as the Battle of Kamdesh. Romesha gave an insightful, moving and, at times, humorous talk about his experiences in the Army, the forces that led him to enlist, and the duty he feels toward America’s Veterans.
Just before the end of the event, the winners of the golf and tennis tournaments were announced and the drawing for the 2015 Australia Adventure travel package was held. Mr. Jay Goodfader of Los Angeles was the winner. The evening concluded with the entire crowd singing God Bless America, led by America’s Tenor, Mr. Steve Amerson.