The Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation began in 2007 in Tyler shortly after retired Senior PGA Tour professional Dick Goetz met Ron Nash of Dallas, a retired Navy Lt. Commander, at a golf tournament in Dallas.
Goetz had recently spent some time on the driving range with seriously injured wounded warriors at Camp LeJeune, N. C., helping them with their golf swings and basic fundamentals of the game.
Goetz and Nash discussed the idea of bringing some wounded warriors to Tyler for a Pro-Am. They co-founded the birth of the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation.
The inaugural event in 2008 was a one-day Pro-Am with seven wounded warriors from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio participating. The following year, a two-day event for 17 wounded warriors included a party the first night and a Pro-Am the next day.
Over the last twelve years, festivities have evolved into a long weekend involving 25-30 injured warriors annually and providing many opportunities for good food and R&R in Tyler. Texas golf Pro-Ams are also held in Amarillo and Horseshoe Bay. Retreats with a spiritual emphasis are held twice a year benefiting the warriors and their families. An annual golf school is held in San Antonio with participants from the Warrior and Family Support Center at Brooke Army Medical Center.
Several professional golfers, including Bobby Nichols, Charles Coody, and Homero Blancas, have donated their time helping warriors on the day of the Pro-Am.
Medical experts and military leaders say that letting these men and women vent their frustrations on the golf course helps some of them forget their injuries for a time and create determination they need for rehabilitation.