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CARBONDALE

For John Forbes, hosting a fundraiser for Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois just makes sense. He had heard about Honor Flights and how nice they were.

When a group formed to fly out of Marion, his wife, Karen Forbes, signed up to help.

“Karen has volunteered with honor flight about a year now. She was one of the guardians on the first flight,” John Forbes said. “I am so excited that Southern Illinois has that now. It is just an amazing experience for veterans and their guardians.”

He and Kevin Klaine talked about hosting a fundraiser for about a years, thinking it would be neat to raise money for Honor Flight. They hoped to organize an event that would draw regional sponsorship.

The men contacted Lance Brown at Sam C. Mitchell and Associates and Greg C. Cook of Cook Portable Warehouses, and they were on board. Carbondale native Wes Gibson with Gibson Consulting stepped up to be an event partner, too.

Those discussions became a Golf Scramble fundraiser, planned for Thursday, May 3, at Keller’s Crossing at Stone Creek.

Keller’s Crossing is managed by a father and son team, PGA Professional Tim Chrzan and his son Jason Chrzan, both veterans.

“Jason and his dad, former military guys, jumped at the chance to host the event. They have been incredibly gracious and very generous in making this a successful endeavor,” Forbes said.

The golf scramble is unique in a couple of ways, according to Forbes.

First, during a typical golfing fundraiser, sponsorships come from businesses. For this fundraiser, businesses or individuals can become sponsor, and can do so in honor of a veteran.

Second, the tournament is free to golfers, but golf slots are limited.

“Why we are excited about sponsorships is the primary event partners have covered the cost of the golf tournament. Any check that is given is made payable to Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois and will go toward funding a flight,” Forbes said.

That unique structure allows golfers to play free of charge, because the event sponsors have paid all the cost for the event. At the end of the event, golfers can choose to make a donation to Veterans Honor Flight in any amount.

“Again, 100 percent is going to Honor Flight,” Forbes said.

During the event, veterans who have been on recent flights will visit players on the course.

When the event is over, retired Vice Adm. Nancy Brown, vice chairman of Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois, will share some words with attendees.

“We hope to make this an annual event. We hope eventually to raise enough money to fund an entire flight, and that is $90,000,” Forbes said.

Forbes said a few golf slots may still be open. Anyone interested in playing is asked to e-mail Lacee Breeden at lbreeden@scmitchell.com.

Sponsorships are available and start at $125. For more information, visit www.veteranshonorflight.org and click on the events tab, or call Forbes at Forbes Financial Group at 618-529-1940.

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Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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