Inaugural tourney raises funds to help Ranger families

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The first Lance Vogeler Memorial Golf Tournament took place Monday.

It was a year ago on Oct. 1 that Sgt 1st Class Lance H. Vogeler was killed in Afghanistan. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, in the battalion mortar platoon of 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Hunter Army Airfield.

"We are free because of these guys," said Matt Lyda, the president of the Lance Vogeler Foundation. "These guys make the ultimate sacrifice. They put their lives on the line every time they go overseas. Lance was in for nine years. He was 29 years old. He went on 12 deployments."

Nearly a 100 local businessmen, rangers, their families and members of the community teed off for the first Lance Vogeler Memorial Golf tournament at Southbridge Golf Club.

"Lance loved golf. We love golf," said Lyda. "We got together and decided this is what we want to do. We want to do it the Monday after the one year anniversary of his death which was October 1st."

The proceeds from every swing taken will be donated to the Sua Sponte Foundation, which is a local organization that supports the families of the 1st Ranger Battalion.

"A lot of times, there is not funds for extended families to come to memorial services," said Chuck Fountain, the president of the Sua Sponte Foundation. "Just for little things that people don't think about when families come into town for memorial services; rental cars, hotels, accommodations for people that can't make ends meet."

The tournament was such a success organizers had to turn people away, but the donations continued to soar high in honor of those who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.

"These guys are constantly overseas," said Lyda. "They are fighting for us, and we are playing golf today. We want to make a day for these rangers, so they can forget this stuff and relax for a day. That is what we are here for."

Organizers hope to raise $15,000 for the Sua Sponte Foundation.

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