Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Servicemen Treated to a Day of Golf; Local Sailors and Others Were Honored at the Plantation in Appreciation for Their Service

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Servicemen Treated to a Day of Golf; Local Sailors and Others Were Honored at the Plantation in Appreciation for Their Service

Article excerpt

Byline: MAGGIE FITZROY

Chief Petty Officer David Perry, a hospital corpsman stationed at Mayport Naval Station, is an avid golfer. He plays about 120 rounds a year.

He even played while recently stationed at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba, where he said the course is so rocky, sandy and dirty it's been described as "the worst golf course on Earth."

On Monday, Perry got to play 18 holes on the lush, green, immaculately landscaped golf course at The Plantation in Ponte Vedra Beach.

He was one of 90 Navy personnel stationed at Mayport and Jacksonville Naval Air Station to be invited to the community's seventh annual Navy Appreciation Day Golf Tournament, which included breakfast, a steak lunch and an awards ceremony.

In Guantanamo, "you hit, and wherever your ball landed, you dropped a 2-foot-by-2-foot piece of indoor carpet down on the ground," Perry said. "You put your ball on it, and hit again it from that."

As he looked out over The Plantation's driving range, and nearby hole No. 1, Perry smiled.

"This is beautiful," he said. "It's wonderful they do this every year."

Jim Gaff, a Plantation resident and World War II survivor of the Normandy invasion, helped found the event in 2003 to show appreciation to Navy men and women who have served in the war on terror.

Since then, Gaff has continued as event chairman, and with the war continuing in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Plantation has honored about 500 Navy personnel.

One of the organizers, Kathie Seabrook, said she'd like to continue the tournament even when the war ends.

"I'm ready to do this forever," she said. "Because we always have military serving somewhere, and we always need to say 'thank you.'"

Players were divided into four-person teams for the scramble-styletournament that kicked off with a shotgun start. Each team included three military personnel and one Plantation member.

When breakfast ended at 8:30 a.m., all the players gathered for a group photo at the driving range, where Lt. …

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