During Mental Health Awareness and Military Appreciation Month, ViacomCBS Veterans Network hosted a virtual panel on Wednesday May 12th, 2021, with PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere). PGA HOPE is the PGA of America’s flagship military initiative. It is a free, adaptive program that introduces veterans with disabilities to golf to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.
The panel was hosted by Kelly Tilghman, longtime golf broadcaster as she welcomed in Brandy Cain, PGA HOPE Program Lead, Chris Nowak, Military and Veteran Liaison of PGA HOPE, Judy Alvarez, Lead National Trainer of PGA HOPE and the Veteran Network’s own Richard M. Jones, Chief Veteran Officer, ViacomCBS. The virtual event, leading up to the PGA Championship, where it attracted 6.5 million viewers, shined a bright light on our veterans through the game of golf.
“What a special day, we got to hear so many great stories. I love the thought of PGA HOPE assisting in the mission to help veterans in the return to civilian life. Every story is different, but every story needs to be heard,” said Kelly. Chris Nowak, a Marine Corps veteran who lost his leg in a training exercise said “My most gratifying moment is seeing veterans catch on to the game of golf. I’ve been doing adaptive sports for a longtime, I’ve never seen another sport impact veterans more than the game of golf.” Judy Alvarez spoke, “I think that’s one thing that’s attractive to the veterans…I’m going to make this happen and it becomes challenging for them in a fun, soothing way where I can just forget everything else”
The program kicked off with special guest Billy Hurley III, Navy Veteran and PGA Tour winner of the 2016 Quicken Loans National.
You can re-watch the program here: ViacomCBS PGA Hope Panel