6th Annual Boca Royale Semper Fi Fund Golf Tournament Rallies Support for Injured Veterans, Unites Generations of Military Families
This month, the Boca Royale Golf and Country Club hosts the 6th Annual Semper Fi Fund Golf Tournament, a fundraising event that’s raised over half a million dollars and counting for wounded, critically ill and injured veterans.
While most golf tournaments hire outside help or a professional organizer, this event is 100% planned and run by a group of retired community members. These volunteers, of whom many once served themselves, have made it their mission to support the next generation of military families.
It all started when in 2009, former Navy Captain and Englewood resident Frank Lugo took a trip to Washington, DC to visit his brother-in-law General James P. Amos, Ret. Commandant of the USMC. It was there that he met Karen Guenther, the founder and CEO of a small but growing charity called the Semper Fi Fund, created to support wounded, ill and injured post-9/11 service members. Lugo returned to his close-knit community in Florida moved by her words and her work, and thought to himself, “how can we help?”
First he collected a few thousand dollars from friends, and sent along the generous donation. But that was just the beginning; Lugo and several others decided to host a golf tournament, with all proceeds going to Semper Fi Fund. They rallied a group of retired volunteers with years of leadership experience, many of whom were avid golfers—but none had ever planned a golf tournament. In spite of this, they went on to raise a whopping $60,000 for the Fund that year.
Since then, the Boca Royale Semper Fi Fund Tournament has become one of the community’s most highly-anticipated events, evolving into a full charity weekend including high ticket auction items. This year’s auction items include a half-day cruise on a Viking yacht, courtesy of Gold Coast Distributors of Sarasota, FL; box tickets to a Red Sox/Yankees game donated by Leveroni Financial Services of Boston, MA; a diamond tennis bracelet and earrings generously given by Heitel Jewelers in Venice, FL and a golf cart donated by Affordable Golf Carts of Venice, FL. This year’s fundraising goals will focus on providing adaptive transportation, motorized wheelchairs, and service dogs to service members in need.
“The Boca Royale Semper Fi Fund Tournament is a shining example of generosity and love of country, and what amazing things can be accomplished when both come together,” said Guenther. “From the bottom of our hearts, we can’t thank Frank and the community of Englewood enough for their incredible support.”
The tournament has also given the volunteers a chance to establish relationships with the young service members who return for the tournament year after year. “While you may officially be “retired” from the military, anyone who has served knows that it’s truly a lifelong commitment,” said Lugo. “Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to support and befriend these ‘youngsters,’ and it’s been an honor to pay it forward to a new generation of military heroes.”