Four U.S. Army Purple Heart recipients were presented with mortgage-free homes Saturday through the Homes 4 Wounded Heroes program.
Each of the Wounded Warriors — former Army sergeants Joe Jenkins, Robert Galpin and Jason Rodriguez and former Army specialist Charles Stewart — had been stationed in Texas at the time of their deployments to Iraq.
“This will be the first home I’ve owned,” said Galpin, who received a house in south Fort Worth. “I have always lived in military housing or barracks, so being able to start fresh here with the help of Military Warriors Support Foundation has been really great.”
Colonial began honoring the military eight years ago by providing free tickets to the tournament and a Patriots’ Outpost with food and beverages. Five years ago, the tournament began to give mortgage-free homes to disabled veterans.
The ceremony took place at the Tempur-Pedic pavilion next door to the Champions Club. Mayor Betsy Price, city councilman Dennis Shingleton, Ed Bass, Colonial Country Club president Chuck Scherer and tournament chairman Bobby Patton attended.
“This has become my favorite part of this entire golf tournament,” Patton said.
The homes were donated by Bank of America to the Military Warriors Support Foundation.
Big O at Colonial
Former NBA and Fort Worth Southwest High School center Oliver Miller was among the thousands of fans who went to Colonial to watch Jordan Spieth in the first three days.
“I definitely came to see Jordan play, and I’ve met Boo Weekley and Vijay Singh, so I would like to see them do well,” Miller said. “But the entire Colonial, with its atmosphere and people-watching, is just a lot of fun.”
The 6-foot-9 Miller might tower over the golf ball, but he is a 10-handicap who averages 290 yards with the big stick. He picked up golf during his time with the Sacramento Kings and plays as often as he can when he is not coaching kids in Amateur Athletic Union basketball.
Even though Spieth trailed by five strokes, his gallery at No. 9 was the largest of the day, with fans filling the grandstands and lining the ropes along the green and fairway.
Of course, they had to slosh through plenty of mud to get there.
By Saturday morning, the rain had turned most of Colonial’s outside-the-ropes areas and fairway crossings into a muddy mess.
The path through the No. 11 fairway — the quickest way to get from the clubhouse to the party area surrounding No. 13 — was a large swath of mud and wood chips, which have been spread across the course in an attempt to firm up the grounds. It was the same situation behind No. 13, where vendor tents are aligned in a circle.
First Tee scholarship
North Crowley senior golfer Conner Parish was presented with the Ben Hogan Foundation Mentor Scholarship, which includes a full scholarship to Texas Wesleyan.
Parish, 17, was nominated for the award through the First Tee program of Fort Worth.
Parish was a three-time all-district selection at North Crowley and won the District 4-6A championship this season. He also posted top-10 finishes in the Fort Worth City Tournament in 2013 and 2014.
The scholarship comes through a four-year partnership between the Hogan Foundation and Texas Wesleyan. Over the course of the partnership, the scholarship will award around a combined $100,000 to five local recipients.
New to this year’s tournament, volunteers at Colonial had a chance to compete in the PGA Tour Volunteer Challenge.
The volunteer with the most votes by noon Saturday was awarded a $10,000 check from Astellas that will be donated in his or her name to the Birdies for Charity Foundation.
Wally Diehl, a volunteer for more than 30 years at Colonial, was the winner.
This was the first PGA Tour event to surpass the 10,000-vote mark.