Stepping forward to make a difference in the lives of others is at the heart of the Atlas Charity Golf Tournament.
Gary Wade, Senior Vice President, Global Security, has hosted this tournament for more than two decades. And since its founding, many volunteers, colleagues, customers and vendors have returned year after year.
“This was a record-breaking year,” said Gary. “We raised more money than ever before for our charities: K9s For Warriors, Liberty City Optimist Club and the Fairfield County Food Bank, and within 24 hours of sending invitations, the event was sold out.”
“Each year, we hear from attendees how much they look forward to the tournament,” added Julia Crupi, Senior Manager, Legal Administration, who along with Kim Cerny, Senior Manager, Crew Compensation and Administration, volunteered at the tournament for the 20th year in a row. “It brings people together who are passionate and fully support the missions of our beneficiaries.”
This year’s event, attended by almost 250 people, was particularly meaningful as Michael Steen explained in his opening video message.
“The golf tournament is an important event to Atlas. It is taking on even more meaning this year, as we are honoring the lives of Adam Kokas and Wendy Wade. Tragedy struck the Atlas family and their families when these two fantastic individuals left us prematurely.”
Donations made in Adam and Wendy’s honor highlighted the tremendous legacies they both leave behind and will help fund K9s For Warriors’ mission to end veteran suicide.
“The support was overwhelming,” said Carly Braun, Development Manager for K9s For Warriors, one of the tournament’s anchor charities. “Through these gifts, you are helping to match veterans struggling with PTSD, traumatic brain injury and/or military sexual trauma with service dogs. Veterans who despite all of their darkness, want to be better husbands and dads, like Adam, and better mothers and daughters, like Wendy.”
She continued, “I’m honored to share that, at our K9s For Warriors campus in Ponte Vedra, Florida, we will be dedicating one of our Warrior Houses in Adam and Wendy’s honor. These apartments are where the journey begins for our Warriors and where they spend 21 days training with their service dogs, and working to heal. The Adam Kokas and Wendy Wade Warrior House will serve as a place for new beginnings – it will change lives and allow so many men and women to find the light.”
Warriors Zoe and Thomas, along with their dogs Atlas and Titan, were also in attendance and spoke about how these special canines are helping them reclaim their lives.
“I didn’t used to think I would make it to 24,” said Zoe. “And here I am today. I look forward to making it to 25 and seeing you at next year’s golf tournament.”
Similarly, Thomas shared that he truly believed that his wife and sons would be better off without him. “Thanks to your generosity, which helped me match with Titan, my wife has her husband back and my sons have their father back.”
Like K9s For Warriors, The Liberty City Optimist Club of Florida, located just five miles from our Miami Training Center, is focused on driving change. Dedicated to the underserved Miami community of Liberty City, the Club supports thousands of at-risk youth with after-school programming and academic tutoring, sports, meals and more.
“With Atlas’ help, we are able to provide a safe place for our local children,” said Tameika Wiley, Program Manager, Liberty City Optimist Club. “One that offers a small respite from the relentless challenges of poverty, hunger and gang violence. You can’t measure the kind of impact that has had in our community.”
“The Atlas team takes the Company’s commitment to enhance the lives of others very seriously,” said Gary. “They consistently show up for each other and for those whom they haven’t yet met but need our support. I am very proud of what we accomplished at this year’s event and am particularly grateful to our event planning team: Kim Cerny, Julia Crupi and Samantha Patterson. They continue to raise the bar year after year to flawlessly deliver a special event.”