ROCKWALL, Texas – A team of U.S. Marines won the fifth Patriot Paws Golf Tournament conducted by the Brotherhood of St. Andrew’s Dallas Assembly.
While four Marines took home trophies, the real winners are the Patriot Paws organization that provides service dogs for disabled U.S. servicemen and women.
A total of 132 golfers participated in the tournament won by former Marines David Honeycutt, Sean Sweeden, Grant Seabolt and active duty Marine Austin Wood, whose 56 score is 15-under-par.
The tournament was held at Buffalo Creek Golf Club in Rockwall (7,078-yards with a par of 71).
Dallas Brothers have raised more than $100,000 for Patriot Paws since becoming involved with the Rockwall-based organization that obtains and trains high-quality Labrador Retrievers at no cost to disabled American veterans and others with mobile disabilities in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence.
“It’s actually sort of a double ministry,” tournament director Brother Jim Vineyard says. “About 30 women inmates in the Texas Department of Corrections help train the service dogs. Once released, this experience helps them find jobs at veterinarian offices and animal shelters, as dog trainers, lab assistants and in other similar positions.
“Only one of the women inmate trainers has returned to prison. The rest now lead productive lives.”
The Dallas Assembly got involved with Patriot Paws after a four-year relationship with Habitat for Humanity. The switch occurred when Habitat for Humanity grew so large – and obtained so many government grants – that Dallas Brothers decided to donate their time and talents to a smaller charity.
“We’re happy for Habitat’s success,” Dallas Assembly President Don Candy says. “We think we helped them get up-and-running in the Dallas area and we built numerous houses with them.
“But Patriot Paws is a wonderful organization that can have a big impact with a little help.”
Currently, 130 veterans are on the Patriot Paws waiting list and the average wait time is five years.
“It would be a wonderful thing if other chapters and assemblies could adopt Patriot Paws,” Brother Vineyard says. “It takes about two years to find the right kind of puppy and train them at a cost of about $33,000 per dog.