The idyllic landscape of the Hudson Hills Golf Course served Monday as a place to honor military veterans who were injured in the line duty and came home in need.
The New Castle course became one of more than 100, across 27 states that took part in what has been dubbed The World's Largest Golf Outing. It is organized by Bill Casper Golf, which manages the county-owned Hudson Hills. The day served as a fundraiser to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps support disabled service members.
“I think it’s a great organization, what they do for the guys when they come out of the field with injuries and after they get home," said Ossining resident and army veteran Steve Baumgartner.
"It's a great thing," he added.
Joe Rafferty, general manager for the golf course, explained that the event is in its second year, with attendence significantly up. Last year, just roughly 12 attended, compared to about 100 for this year.
“We’re pretty lucky," he told reporters. "We’re pretty fortunate that we’re able to get the word out early this year.”
Several of those playing had a personal anecdote about military service, either first or second hand.
For Jesse Steel, an update New York resident who joined a team made up of New Castle town employees, it was personal. He talked about how a friend of his in the Marines, Lance Corporal Patrick Hawco, was injured with an explosive while on duty in Afghanistan, shattering his heel and ankle.
He explained, “We’re happy to have him and I’m happy to be here.”
David Ludwig, a New Castle water department employee, said he enjoys it because his son, Matthew was in the service. He recently returned from duty in the army.
“So it’s nice to give it back to those guys," he said.
The event was very important for New Castle Councilman John Buckley, who helped organize a team to play, and brought along his son, Henry, and friends for it.
“It means everything," he said.
Buckley can count Rafferty as among those who's thankful for his support.
“Having local support like John is invaluable," he said.
The event also brought out support from local first responders, including police and firefighters.
Millwood firefighter Walter Quast came out, along with Ossining firefighters Gino and Mauro Santucci, to play on a team together. Quast said that they were looking to enjoy themselves “for a good cause.”
“We’re happy to be here on a great day like this," said Gino Santucci.
Tony Rotolo," a New Castle police officer, expressed similar feelings.
All told, the outing, nationwide is estimated to have raised about $500,000, Rafferty said.