Over 140 golfers came out last month for the 20th Annual Atlas Air Worldwide Charity Golf Tournament to support charities that provide critical services to those in need in the communities where Atlas does business.
While the golf is always competitive and an important part of the day, the main draw according to Gary Wade, Vice President, Global Security, are the heartfelt presentations made by the beneficiaries during dinner. This year, another 60 or so non-golfers joined just for dinner.
“The energy from the day and into the evening is really special. Our guests really appreciate hearing directly from the charity representatives how their involvement with our tournament impacts the lives of others,” Gary explained.
“There really isn’t a dry eye in the house during the evening reception,” added Samantha Patterson, Manager European/Asian Regulatory Affairs and Security.
Proceeds from this year’s event were donated to K9s for Warriors, the Liberty City Optimist Club and the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, organizations which align with the Company’s philosophy for promoting social impact and positive change.
“Our community impact mission is focused on several areas of critical need including Supporting the U.S. Military Personnel and Their Families; Developing the Workforce of Tomorrow; and Humanitarian Relief,” said John Dietrich, President and Chief Executive, who attended along with other Atlas colleagues, including members of the Executive Leadership Team and Officers Team. “These three organizations are playing a critical role in helping our communities thrive. It is our great honor to support their efforts.”
Committed to putting an end to military veteran suicide, K9s for Warriors provides highly-trained Service Dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma. With the majority of dogs selected from high-kill rescue shelters, K9s for Warriors empowers veterans to live a life of dignity and independence – a life that many previously did not think was possible.
Warrior Toye Hickman, a retired United States Marine who served proudly for 26 years, joined the event this year on behalf of K9s for Warriors. Toye spoke about how her Service Dog Bake is helping her to take control of her life after years of overwhelming PTSD symptoms, including daily suicidal thoughts.
“Sadly, about 20 veterans die by suicide each day. Pairing warriors with a canine can be life changing,” said Elizabeth Reeger, Development Associate, Major Gifts at K9 for Warriors.
“Our waiting list of warriors hoping to be matched with a dog is quite long and extends through 2024. Atlas’s partnership and financial support has helped cover the expenses associated with dog training, and most recently with the preliminary construction of our new Campus for K9 Operations, a ‘mega-kennel,’ which will be capable of housing more than 150 Service Dogs-in training. With Atlas’s help we are putting more dogs through our program and making real progress towards improving warriors’ quality of life.”
Like K9s for Warriors, The Liberty City Optimist Club of Florida, located five miles from our Miami Training Center, is working hard to improve the lives of others. The Club’s outreach programs are focused on enhancing the growth and development of at-risk youth in Miami Dade County.
Tameika Wiley, Program Manager, Liberty City Optimist Club of Florida, spoke to the relentless challenges of poverty, hunger and gang violence the Club works to mitigate for the children in their community.
“Some of these children may not eat anything outside of what they are served at the Liberty City Optimist Club….and for most of our children, our Club is the only safe space they know.”
Thanks to Atlas’s support and funds raised from previous Charity Golf Tournaments, the Liberty City Optimist Club has been able to offer free registration for participants in the sports program and reduced registration for the after-school program, which gives countless families some peace of mind.
“Regardless of how dire some of these families’ financial situations may be, they are still trying so hard to save money and pay for our programs,” explained Tameika. “That’s because they believe when their kids are involved with the Club, they are safe. With Atlas’s help, we are able to relieve some of that financial burden – you can’t measure the kind of impact that has had on the community.
And that impact was made possible by Atlas colleagues, clients, partners and vendors coming together.
“This was a great effort due to the involvement of many,” said Gary. “Our 20th Annual Charity Golf Tournament is an outstanding example of bringing our core value, Teamwork, to life. It takes a team to deliver on our commitments to each other and to society.”
Gary continued, “At the heart and soul of this team are Kim Cerny, Senior Manager, Flight Operations, Julia Crupi, Senior Manager, Legal Administration and Samantha Patterson. They worked tirelessly to achieve a flawless execution of the event in addition to keeping up with their day jobs, which included assisting with the Afghanistan evacuation effort. I have immense gratitude for these three.”
Editor’s Note: There is still time to support the charities connected to this year’s Charity Golf Tournament. If you are interested please contact the Atlas Air Golf Committee.