Bush Institute's Warrior Open golf tourney wraps up
George W. Bush with special guests, including pro golfing great Lee Trevino, center, at his Warrior Open Pro-Am, Sept. 26, 2013.
The Dallas Morning News (MCT)
IRVING — After undergoing nearly 25 surgeries on his right leg, Army Capt. Matt Anderson will face one more operation in a few months: amputation of his leg below the knee.
Anderson, who was injured in Afghanistan after stepping on a land mine, admitted he has harbored some hesitation about that ultimate procedure. After all, he said, “you can’t really super-glue that thing back on.”
But after participating this week in the George W. Bush Institute’s Warrior Open, a golf tournament for wounded veterans, Anderson said he was at peace with what lies ahead. He said he was amazed at what some of the competitors were able to do.
They included retired Army Cpl. Chad Pfeifer, who won his third straight Warrior Open on Saturday while using prosthesis on his right leg.
“You see them still as high-end athletes, and it’s awesome,” said Anderson, 30, who wears a heavy brace on his leg. “That’s the thing that’s most comforting to me.”
The Warrior Open, at Las Colinas Country Club, wrapped up Saturday in familiar fashion. Pfeifer, who hails from Goodyear, Ariz., cruised to victory at four over par for the tournament, nine strokes ahead of the field.
Former President George W. Bush gave out a new award this year to the golfers who scored the most below their golf handicap. Anderson, who finished second overall at 13 over, and retired Army Staff Sgt. Ben Dellinger, who shot 17 over, tied for the honor.
“You can’t always take down Chad,” said Anderson, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Bush said he was proud “to honor some of our nation’s finest citizens.” And though the former president focused on the tournament’s competition, he nodded at the “noble cause” of the Bush Institute’s broader outreach to veterans.
It’s “a cause that honors not only courage and sacrifice, but a cause which I hope calls citizens in America to always honor our vets,” he said.
The Bush Institute’s military service initiative is working on several research-based efforts to help veterans and military families, including a pilot program, with input from businesses, academics and military leaders, to find ways to get veterans jobs.
Retired Army Col. Miguel Howe, director of the Bush Institute’s military service initiative, said he hopes to have an inaugural policy conference early next year. But until then, he and others are working to develop the “notion of community” around veterans.
“This is not just a government problem or a veterans issue,” Howe said. “It’s a national responsibility.”