Veterans Golf: A Course in Courage

Nomination of "Pepper" Roberts and the Friends of American Lake Veterans Golf Course as Brother Community Champions.
Harold "Pepper" Roberts is the founder and president of "Friends of American Lake Veterans Golf Course," the 501(c)3 fundraising arm of this unique course -- the only golf course in the country designed specifically for wounded and disabled veterans. In 1955, the American Lake Veterans Golf Course was built on the Veterans Administration Hospital grounds in Lakewood, Washington, near Tacoma and Seattle. Since 1995, when federal funding was eliminated for operations and maintenance for all VA golf courses, this facility has been funded and maintained by volunteers (currently numbering around 160), many of them retired veterans. In 2001, Harold "Pepper" Roberts, a retired teacher, golf pro and veteran of the Korean War, joined the American Lake VGC as a volunteer. The following year, he was asked to join the VA Golf Course's Board of Directors. It was then that he discovered there were no funds for needed improvements or upkeep of the course. In 2003, Pepper initiated efforts to create a nonprofit organization to raise funds to support the facility; the non-profit status [a 501(c)3 organization] was granted in May 2004. Pepper became both the founder and president of the Friends of American Lake Veterans Golf Course. Since then, this dedicated group, under Pepper's visionary leadership, has helped raise funds and in-kind donations and services for much-need improvements at ALVGC in order to serve the growing population of wounded and disabled veterans. Their efforts have generated contributions to support construction of a covered driving range and meeting/activity rehab pavilion, new accessible tee boxes, various practice areas, electrical service updates, a sprinkler system, and the purchase of golf carts, including single-rider, adaptive carts for players with limited mobility. A campaign is now under way to raise funds to construct nine new holes (to supplement the existing nine holes). PGA legend Jack Nicklaus has donated design services.

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Nancy says ... on Wednesday, May 4 at 12:29 PM

I would like to cast a vote for the Pepper Roberts group and the American Lake Veterans Hospital Golf Course for the Brotherton Cadillac Community Service Award. Many thanks to this ambitious group and all they have done for the veterans.

Lani Nyderek says ... on Friday, Jan 28 at 7:29 AM

Pepper and the "GANG" are awesome! This year "we" the Northwest Burn Foundation have dedicated our 7th Annual Golf Classic to Honoring the Veterans/Wounded Warriors from American Lake Golf Course.

Ellen Tengesdal says ... on Thursday, Jan 27 at 4:49 PM

I agree with Jim that Pepper Roberts deserves recognition for all he has done for the veterans at American Lake Veterans Hospital Golf Course. Ellen Tengesdal

Jim and Ellen Tengesdal says ... on Thursday, Jan 27 at 4:16 PM

Starting as a member of the volunteer ground crews some 20 years ago and then enlisting my wife to join me in the "Caddy Shack" a few years ago, we both join the many others who know "Pepper" and thank him for what he has done. Jim T

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