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Local golf tournament helps veterans and service members

picture courtesy homebase.org

WOLF (Dallas, Luzerne County)--Did you know that the unemployment rate for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is 40% greater than that of the general public? A local golf tournament is helping to raise money and awareness for the problems that all too often affect troops coming home.

Even with some slick conditions from all of the weekend's rain, local golfers came out to support a great cause Monday at the 4th Annual "Swing 4 Home" tournament at Huntsville Golf Club in Dallas. Proceeds from the day benefit Home Base, an national organization whose mission is to heal the " invisible wounds" that affect those who serve or continue to serve our country.

Each hole on the course featured an eye-opening statistic about our country's military and what they often face when all is said and done.

"There's a lot of veterans in our area that don't get the care they need and hopefully we're bringing some of the money that we raise to this area," said tournament co-founder Mary Wargo.

One of the event's organizers Andrea O'Neill said that besides raising money for Home Base, one of her main goals is to erase the stigma of mental health problems affecting veterans, and help steer them towards the help they may need.

"A lot of military veterans refuse to seek help, they feel there is a shame in that in some way, so the Home Base program seeks them out, finds them, and brings them in," she said.

"It also counsels their family, whether it's their significant other, parents, children, and helps them through what is happening to the veteran."

For the first year at the tournament, proceeds will also go towards America's Vet Dogs, which helps provide assistance dogs to veterans, free of charge.

"The dogs are taught different tasks depending on the veteran's needs. It's just a wonderful way of helping out."

The golf tournament has raised over 10,000 dollars in the last four years, and hopes to keep growing. To find out how you can help, visit homebase.org.

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