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On the steps of city hall, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry led a group of community leaders and representatives from various charitable organizations to proclaim July 13 as THE PLAYERS Championship Charity Day in celebration of THE PLAYERS Championship reaching several charitable milestones as a result of the 2018 event. Tournament Volunteer Leadership and Jared Rice, Executive Director of THE PLAYERS, joined as part of the celebration to announce that the tournament reached more than $100 million in total donations, surpassed a 10-year goal of $50 million generated for local non-profits that promote youth education, health and wellness and character development and that the 2018 tournament generated a record-setting $9 million to local charities.
"We honor and thank all of those associated with THE PLAYERS Championship by making today's proclamation," Mayor Curry said. "This tournament serves as a global showcase for our community to the world. We should all take a minute to reflect on how fortunate our area is to have an entity like THE PLAYERS Championship that has made a significant impact on so many lives throughout Northeast Florida.”
“While the numbers are astounding -- $100 million in total, $50 million to youth-related charities and $9 million in 2018 alone – it is the stories of the work being done by the charities and the lives that these charities touch that are the hallmark of THE PLAYERS Championship,” said Executive Director of THE PLAYERS Championship Jared Rice. “Many thanks to our Proud Partners – Optum, Morgan Stanley and Grant Thornton—the more than 2,000 volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year and our fans for their tremendous support of THE PLAYERS. I am also thankful to Mayor Curry for recognizing the work being done by everyone who makes this community event such a continued success and a showcase of excellence. It is an honor to celebrate THE PLAYERS Championship Charity Day.”
“As THE PLAYERS 2018 tournament chairman, I would like to personally thank, and congratulate, not only the 2,000-plus volunteers who dedicated countless hours to further this year’s success, but also all of those who have volunteered their time and energy to be a part of the overall charitable efforts through the years,” said 2018 tournament chairman Damon Olinto. “Today we announced that THE PLAYERS reached two phenomenal milestones, which would not have been possible without their support. Moments like this are what make us proud to be involved with THE PLAYERS and why these volunteers come back year-after-year.”
During the event, THE PLAYERS surprised the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus with a 33-passanger van, Hart Felt Ministries with a handicapped accessible van and the Police Athletic League (P.A.L) and Jacksonville’s School for Autism with 15-passanger vans.
One of the many members of the Northeast Florida community impacted by a charity supported by THE PLAYERS is Randy Dexter.
Randy Dexter & Captain, K9s for Warriors - Randy joined the US Army at 20 years old and served for 11 years as a combat medic. He deployed to Iraq twice and spent more than two years on the front lines. While serving, he received two bronze stars – one for protecting a commanding general, and another for caring for subordinate soldiers. In 2005, Randy experienced the most severe of many traumatic events of his service. His squad was hit by an improvised explosive device while driving in Baghdad. He suffered the debilitating symptoms of traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder, and medically retired in 2013. Randy arrived at K9s For Warriors, a charity that THE PLAYERS Championship has supported since it launched, desperate for a drastic change. He was paired with his service dog, Captain.
“Ever since having Captain, I have walked hand-in-paw with him. He is so in tune with me; he buries his body into mine when I feel anxious, wakes me up from hellacious nightmares, keeps me healthy by exercising him, and lets me use him as a brace to stand up when I am too stiff to do it myself. Captain constantly brings joy into my life.”
Since graduating from the K9s program, Randy has progressed in awe-inspiring ways. He graduated with Honors and a B.A. in Communication from University of Nevada, Las Vegas and was president of the lauded Student Veterans of America chapter there. He has since accepted a position as the Campus Director of K9s for Warriors’ new, second training campus.
“In August 2014, I traveled to Florida as a warrior at the end of his rope. Captain and K9s for Warriors changed that. Now, we’re back at K9s to help veterans and rescue dogs live happy, productive and meaningful lives. To me, there is no better job.”
To follow are messages of support from some of the many community and charity leaders who have witnessed first-hand the charitable impact of THE PLAYERS.
“We congratulate THE PLAYERS for this powerful and sustained level of support for our community. The beneficiary organizations who assist individuals and families in Northeast Florida have found a true partner in THE PLAYERS.” - J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver, former owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars
“THE PLAYERS has partnered with the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation since our first Celebrity Golf Classic, the signature event on which we built our foundation. THE PLAYERS’ continuous generosity has allowed the Jay Fund to touch the lives of over 5,000 families who tackle childhood cancer. We are proud to be associated with THE PLAYERS and will forever be grateful. Their confidence in our organization and the work we do is meaningful. THE PLAYERS support enables the Jay Fund to BE THERE for childhood cancer patients and their families.” - Tom Coughlin, President, Tom Coughlin Jay Fund
“We are deeply grateful and appreciative for the impact THE PLAYERS have made on access to healthcare, injury prevention and health education for children. More than 100,000 families have been helped through our longstanding and valued partnership. THE PLAYERS commitment to ensuring a healthy future for children in our community was further confirmed when Jared Rice joined the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Board of Directors.” - Hugh Greene, President & CEO, Baptist Health
“THE PLAYERS Championship is passionate about improving the lives of children through education in Northeast Florida. Organizations like the QEA Fund, Teach for America, Take Stock in Children, KIPP, City Year and JPEF, to name a few, have all benefited greatly from THE PLAYERS. To reach a 10-year $50 million goal in less than eight years is an amazing accomplishment that this community should take great pride in.” - Gary Chartrand, Executive Chairman, Acosta
“THE PLAYERS’ commitment to our mission means local children have the food necessary to learn; area seniors are able to afford their medicine; and our own military members who are sacrificing so much can receive the nutritious meals they deserve. We are honored that THE PLAYERS has come alongside us to invest in the community. Through this strategic partnership, we are collaboratively working to help transform Northeast Florida.” - Frank Castillo, Executive Director, Feeding Northeast Florida
“FSCJ is extremely grateful to THE PLAYERS for the continuing support of our students through THE PLAYERS Championship Scholarship. For its many recipients, college access, persistence, a gleeful graduation and achieving their vocational dreams might otherwise not have been possible. Our thanks to THE PLAYERS for their genuine commitment to the vitality of our community and the families who are its most vital parts.” - Kevin Hyde, President, Florida State College at Jacksonville
“THE PLAYERS Championship Endowed First Generation Scholarship has been instrumental in helping students fulfill their dream of getting a college education and setting them on a course for success in their careers and in life. UNF is grateful for the financial support THE PLAYERS provide to our students, and for the encouragement each student is given to excel in their academics.” - David Szymanski, President, University of North Florida
“Compassion for those in need is the mark of a true community leader. No one has defined that more than THE PLAYERS Championship. I know I speak for so many on the First Coast when I say, what an absolute jewel we have in this generous organization. The DONNA Foundation couldn’t do what we do to help families struggling with breast cancer without them. Congratulations on a truly remarkable milestone.” - Donna Deegan, founder, The DONNA Foundation
“THE PLAYERS’ partnership with St. Vincent’s in support of our mission outreach programs has been simply invaluable. Their long-standing commitment has helped St. Vincent’s expand our award-winning Mobile Health Outreach Ministry that provides free healthcare to the most vulnerable children and adults throughout our region. St. Vincent’s thanks THE PLAYERS for helping us make Northeast Florida a healthier and happier place, and for partnering with us to provide essential healthcare for many who would otherwise do without. On behalf of everyone at St. Vincent’s and the communities, individuals and families we’re so blessed serve, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” - Tom VanOsdol, President & CEO, Ascension Florida
"It's amazing how committed THE PLAYERS is to the charitable causes in our community. When we built Walk Off Charities to help young people play baseball -- many of whom had never even owned a ball glove, children who otherwise would never be able to play on a baseball team – THE PLAYERS team actually reached out to us and asked how they could help. The result – not only did they contribute a $100,000 challenge match to our fundraising efforts, but they actually got involved in our main event and made it better than ever. I can’t thank THE PLAYERS enough. They've helped us change lives of children in Jacksonville. That is a powerful thing." - Frank Frangie, founder, Walk Off Charities
“The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida congratulate THE PLAYERS on reaching these amazing milestones. We are grateful for their continued support of our mission and look forward to continuing our partnership to create great futures for the youth of our amazing community.” - Paul Martinez, President/CEO, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida
THE PLAYERS is returning to March and will be contended at TPC Sawgrass March 12-17, 2019. More information about THE PLAYERS is available at THEPLAYERS.com. Volunteering at THE PLAYERS is a unique avenue for not only golf fans, but also those looking to support an event that gives millions of dollars back to the community, to become a part of the team that works tirelessly to make the tournament a showcase of excellence. New volunteer registration begins November 5, 2019. Those that wish to apply to be a volunteer at THE PLAYERS this year, or that want more information, can visit THEPLAYERSvolunteers.com.
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