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Cambrian Ridge organizes tourney for wounded vets

Adam Jennings warms up prior to the Cambrian Ridge-hosted golf tournament for wounded veterans Wednesday.

Adam Jennings warms up prior to the Cambrian Ridge-hosted golf tournament for wounded veterans Wednesday.

The Semper Fi Fund’s goal is a simple one—to provide lifetime support to injured service men and women across all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as their families.

That mission brought a handful of soldiers from around the nation to Greenville’s Cambrian Ridge Thursday morning in search of a little rest and relaxation, and more than a little competitive spirit, on the green.

Cambrian Ridge director Bryan Reynolds said that an effort to host a tournament featuring America’s bravest has been in the works for nearly a year.

“Last Thanksgiving, [Team Semper Fi senior manager] Casey Fisher and I met, and he told me what the Semper Fi Fund was all about,” Reynolds said.

“These guys have made a sacrifice for our freedom, and any time you can give back—we can’t give enough back, but anything we can do to make these guys’ experience memorable, we want to do it.  We’re honored to have them here.”

The feeling was mutual, according to Chris Bowers, a retired member of the United States Marine Corps.

After enlisting in 2003, Bowers went to Iraq in 2007 and was injured in the following year. 

In 2010, he lost his leg, and has been undergoing extensive rehabilitation ever since.

According to Bowers, events such as Cambrian Ridge’s golf tournament have been just as pivotal toward his recovery as the various medical procedures he’s undergone.

“Early on during my recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Team Semper Fi was an outlet to get guys out of the hospital and back into sports through adaptability, fellowship and being around guys who’ve been through the same experiences as you,” Bowers said.

“It’s really propelled me to become an ambassador and bring guys back into the program.  To watch this golf program grow over the past few years has been pretty awesome.”

Despite the unique circumstances surrounding participating in a golf tournament consisting of wounded veterans from around the nation, Bower added that the opportunity to get away on the green helped a great deal in acclimating to normal life.

“It’s a dose of laughter, humility and fun,” Bowers added. “We don’t get to see each other a lot—we live all across the country.  When we get to come to an event and just be guys again, it’s really enjoyable, and I think everyone walks away feeling a little bit better about their situation, and how things are going in their recovery process.”

The participants also had nothing but praise for Cambrian Ridge’s facilities, which a compliment that carries significantly more weight given the experiences the servicemen have had at golf courses around the world.

“We’re just glad we get to showcase our wonderful facility to these guys,” Reynolds said.

“They’re world-class facilities, and we’re glad they get to play at a golf course of this caliber.  Our superintendent, Trevor Richardson, has done a great job of getting this course in the condition that it’s in, and it’ll be a memorable trip for them.”

And for Bowers, Cambrian Ridge—and the Camellia City as a whole—has a few advantages unique to the South.

“We stayed at a local hotel last night, and everybody as super-friendly and really warm,” Bowers said. “I’ve never been in Alabama before, so it’s really cool to see it.  To actually be here and play some of your toughest golf courses on the RTJ Trail has been really cool. 

“And your sweet tea is awesome. Sweet tea is a staple of the South, and we appreciate you for it.”