Lincoln, NE – Since 2016, the week leading up to the PGA Championship has been dedicated to our nation’s heroes with the PGA HOPE Secretary’s Cup. Teams made up of four PGA HOPE graduates and one PGA/LPGA Professional compete while celebrating what the program continues to accomplish across the United States. The annual event is set for late May in Tulsa, Oklahoma and a team of local Veterans will represent PGA HOPE Nebraska, led by Nebraska PGA Professional Mark Nygaard.
PGA HOPE Secretary’s Cup celebrates the PGA HOPE Program by providing a unique and memorable experience for our military Veterans and the PGA Professionals who work tirelessly to positively impact Veterans’ lives. PGA HOPE Nebraska, the local program hosts 7-week sessions in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney welcoming Veterans from around the state. The program provides military veterans with free golf experiences taught by PGA Professionals. Upon completing the program, Veterans are considered “graduates” and remain engaged every year through other PGA HOPE activities and events provided by PGA REACH Nebraska.
Navy Veteran Frank Pratt of Lincoln, Army Veteran Dallas Brekeen of Omaha, Air Force Veteran Kevin Schademann of Geneva and Air Force Veteran Joe Fredrick of Omaha were selected to compete in the sixth edition of the national event. The four PGA HOPE graduates will be accompanied by PGA HOPE instructor and Army Veteran Mark Nygaard, PGA who has dedicated his time to the program since its inception in 2018. Also traveling with the team as captains will be PGA HOPE Nebraska Ambassadors and Veterans Shawn Donald and David Karl.
“When I started with PGA HOPE in 2019, I was lost with no hope before I signed up. Nearly three years later and I can confidently say it was the best decision of my life, next to marrying my wife. This program has changed my outlook on life and giving it a totally different meaning,” said PGA HOPE graduate and Ambassador Shawn Donald.
All teams arrive in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 14. They will participate in practice rounds on May 15, and will have an opportunity to attend a PGA Championship practice round at Southern Hills Country Club on May 17.
“PGA HOPE is enhancing, changing and saving lives, and when you hear that message directly from the family members of participating Veterans, it’s very powerful,” said Jim Richerson, President, PGA of America. “Veterans have sacrificed so much, and the work that our PGA Professionals are doing is truly making a difference. I’m so proud to be part of this program, and of the PGA’s commitment to grow PGA HOPE.”
PGA HOPE is simply changing, shaping and saving lives across our country and it’s no different here at home. The local program graduated its 100th Veteran in 2021 and continues to expand across the state. Sending a team to the national Secretary’s Cup will be a rewarding experience for everyone involved and it shows the positive impact it has on our local heroes.
About PGA REACH Nebraska
PGA REACH Nebraska is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and the charitable arm of the Nebraska Section PGA. PGA REACH Nebraska is program based and supported by the Nebraska Section PGA Golf Professionals. PGA REACH Nebraska’s mission is to positively impact lives through the game of golf. The Foundation has 3 core pillars of focus: Military, Youth and Inclusion. Each pillar is supported by programs that are executed to carry out our mission. The following are members of PGA REACH Nebraska’s Board of Directors; Tony Pesavento, PGA, Nathan Kalin, PGA, Gil Russell, PGA, Dawn, Neujahr, PGA, Mike Schuchart, PGA, Kevin Drew, PGA, David Honnens, PGA, Anthony Driscoll, PGA, Al Peterson lll, PGA, Mike Mackintosh, Thomas Kelley, Doug Patterson, Chris Ober and Bethany Clark.
About PGA HOPE
PGA HOPE is a 7-week program that provides military veterans with free golf experiences taught by PGA Professionals. Upon completing the program, Veterans are considered “graduates” and will remain engaged every year through other PGA HOPE activities and events provided by PGA REACH Nebraska. Learning and playing the game of golf is a proven activity that has positively impacted thousands of veterans nationwide. PGA HOPE is a program that is truly making a difference, as golf has become a therapeutic part of the rehabilitation process for many veterans with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.
PGA REACH Nebraska, 610 J Street, Suite #10, Lincoln, NE 68508