CLAYTON — Rebecca Wilkins is combining two of her passions, golf and a love for the military, to complete a high school project while giving back to soldiers in need.
On March 30, the Corinth Holders High school senior is hosting a golf tournament with all proceeds to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. The organization provides programs and services to injured members of the military.
“I have family in the military and golf has always been a part of my life since I was really young,” said Wilkins, whose two sisters have served in the Army. She also has a brother-in-law currently in the Air Force.
Her senior paper explored the health issues that qualify one as a wounded soldier. Wilkins, 17, discovered through her research that post-traumatic stress disorder and military suicide rates were on the rise.
“Most people tend to think soldiers are only hurt from injury in battle,” she noted. “PTSD affects so many more in the military than people realize. It qualifies as being a wounded soldier.”
An avid golfer since the age of 5, Wilkins has spent the past several months organizing the first annual Wounded Hero Golf Classic. It’s been her job to solicit sponsors, recruit players and coordinate an event that she hopes will help ease the suffering of those who serve our nation. Several Clayton-area businesses have loaned their support by donating prizes and sponsoring holes.
“I feel like our soldiers don’t get as much recognition as they deserve,” Wilkins said. “They put their lives on the line for us every day.”
The 18-hole tournament will take place at Riverwood Golf Club. Registration begins at 11:45 a.m. with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Cost is $50 per person and includes fees, cart and a meal after the event. After March 15, that price will increase to $65.
There will also be a 50/50 raffle, hole-in-one contest and prizes for the top three finishers.
Wilkins has decided a career in the military is in her future. She spent three years as a member of her school’s ROTC program and said the experience taught her valuable leadership skills. Her plans are to first earn a nursing degree and then enlist in the Army.
“I want to serve my country in any way that I can with my degree already behind me,” said Wilkins. “I want to be able to give everything that I can to a military career.”
For more information or to register as a player for the Wounded Hero Golf Classic, visit google.com/site/woundedherogolf.