Golf outing fundraiser for local disabled veteran Saturday Aug 20 Meadows Gold Course, Blue Island
More than 300 people are expected to attend an annual golf outing at Meadows Golf Course in Blue Island on Saturday August 20 that began five years ago to help injured or disabled veterans who live in the Chicagoland area.
The principle organizer of the fundraising effort is Orland Park resident Dan Drew, 41, who said more than $74,000 has been raised since the veteran support group was founded as a 501(c)(3) in 2011.
“It started for me in 2010 when I read a story in the local newspaper about an Oak Lawn Marine veteran, Yuriy Zmysly, who suffered a stroke and was in a coma after returning from military service in Afghanistan,” Drew said.
“The story moved me. I wondered how he was going to help his family. I felt he did so much to protect us as Americans and I wanted to do something for him. I wanted to help.”
Zmysly had just gotten engaged to his bride to be, Aimee, when he had an emergency appendectomy and lapsed into a coma, according to many news reports published at the time.
Drew and his wife Janelle, who today have four children, worried for Zmysly and wondered how he and his family would make ends meet. So they brought together friends, Drew said, and came up with the idea to host a fundraising golf outing with all of the proceeds to go to Zymsly’s family.
“It was so successful, we decided we needed to do it every year for other needy disabled veterans,” Drew said.
The group worked with local veterans organizations to identify other needy disabled veterans or veterans who had suffered similar tragedies after serving their country.
“Each year, the response has been phenomenal,” Drew said.
“This is our sixth golf outing fundraiser and our beneficiary veteran this year is Air Force Captain Anthony Simone. Captain Simone is an incredible young man and he is one incredible hero. He flew many missions in Afghanistan and his final mission was his last mission saving other soldiers.”
Drew said that during the past two years, the effort has raised more than $20,000 for each recipient and that the goal this year for Simone is $22,000.
Captain Simone’s combat rescue helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in 2010. Simone co-piloted a Pave Hawk helicopter picking up the wounded military servicemen and civilians from isolated spots in war zones who were often behind enemy lines. Five of Captain Simone’s crew died in the attack and he and another soldier survived. Simone suffered traumatic brain injury during the attack.
Simone will be feted at Saturday’s golf outing and dinner banquet. For more information on the Chicago Soldier’s Organization and the golf outing, or to make a donation towards Simone’s support, visit www.ChicagoSoldiers.com and click on the “Donate” button online.
The after-golf reception will begin at 1 pm.
Hanania covered Chicago political beats including Chicago City Hall while at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and later for the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992). He published The Villager Community Newspapers covering 12 Southwest suburban regions (1993-1997). Hanania also hosted live political news radio talkshows on WLS AM (1980 - 1991), and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM, WSBC AM in Chicago, and WNZK AM in Detroit.
The recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, Hanania was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hananiaalso received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania writes columns for the Southwest Community Newspaper Group including the Des Plaines Valley News, the Southwest News-Herald, the Regional News and the Reporter Newspapers.