January 25, 2007 at 6:38 a.m.

Dateline Iraq: golf gear donations greatly appreciated

Dateline Iraq: golf gear donations greatly appreciated
Dateline Iraq: golf gear donations greatly appreciated

Readers might recall that a few months ago the Chisago Lakes Golf Course helped promote and collect donations for an organization that sends golf clubs and balls to military personnel in Iraq. From all accounts, the "Fore Our Soldiers Inc." effort was a huge success. On this page is a photo of some soldiers stationed in Kirkuk enjoying whacking a few around.

Without subjecting you to witty references about sand traps and the obvious, you should know that Todd Kueppers, Chisago Lakes Golf Course, Lindstrom, will sponsor a 2007 collection. Kueppers said he received e mails from Iraq from guys who are enjoying using the golf clubs as a way to relieve stress and to pass time.

Some of the computer correspondence:

"Mr. Kueppers, just wanted to send you a big thank you...we received two complete sets of clubs about a month or two back with a bunch of balls. We are mostly on the road but when time allows we go hit some...there is no greater feeling as the one being an American soldier when you have a Continent that supports and cares as much as you guys do. Guns up and hammer down."

"First and foremost thank you for the golf stuff. When i see the boxes on my bed for us i was shocked -- then even more so when i picked them up and how heavy they were. It was like Christmas. Wow, thank you for supporting us, we really do appreciate the things that are done for us."

Mr. Kueppers... we are in the process of building a net (to catch the balls) our supply was starting to dwindle a little. Now we have 600 more to hit around. I can't express enough how grateful we are for people like you who do such a great thing. You all have boosted our morale at a time when we will be away from our loved ones over the holidays.

Members of the Kirkuk Iraq Fuels Team stationed at Kirkuk are in the photo that was e mailed to Kueppers. They are out of Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico. TSGT. Scott Hunkins wrote in his e mail (he is pictured on the far right.) People like you are the ones who help us win the war. I am the most avid golfer among the rest but I am sure I have hooked one or two. I really look forward to returning and playing at a real course with real grass.

Kueppers says an acquaintance, Mike Hemming, put him in touch with Mike Elias sr. who is a Vietnam Vet and has collected golf and other sporting goods to send to troops. Chisago Lakes Golf Course collected 500 golf clubs and two 35 gallon cans of balls. These and other gear were shipped with a $1,200 cash donation from a hockey association.

The non-profit Fore Our Soldiers Inc. has since been established.

The website is www.foreoursoldiers.com.

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