Corning Country Club holds 4th annual Clubfest

The Corning Country Club held its fourth annual Clubfest for members and the community on July 28, 2012. Four years ago, the Club decided that because the LPGA Corning Classic was no longer being held at the Corning Country Club, that it would be nice to hold event that would welcome the community to the facility. The Club also felt it was important to give something back to the community in a meaningful way. Last year, a donation of $1,000 from Clubfest proceeds went to the United Way of the Southern Tier. This year the Club took a more personal approach. The Club went to the local Veterans Administration Hospital in Bath, NY and inquired about the possibility of helping those who have helped us by protecting our Country. Teamed up with the Corning American Legion and with the help of Dawn Smith, LCSW OEF/OIF Program Manager at the Bath Facility, the Club was introduced to Robert Costley, an Iraq War Army Veteran, who now lives nearby in Erin, NY. Robert graduated from Elmira Southside High School in 1995. Following graduation he enlisted in the National Guard and subsequently was employed in the high-tech photonics business. When the tech bubble burst, he was laid off, but quickly found two full time jobs to support his growing family. Unfortunately neither job provided benefits. In January 2003 Robert determined the best way to provide for his family was to switch from the National Guard to active duty in the U.S. Army. That spring he went on his first deployment to Iraq as an E-4 Specialist, serving most of his time in Kuwait. Robert’s second deployment began in January 2005. “We knew right from the start this would be different experience,” he said. His responsibility was convoy security far to the west of the city of Baghdad. Robert said he will never forget the flash he saw out of the corner of his eye as he put his foot on the brake of the Humvee. He remembered coming to and in split second realized he was paralyzed. When he let the air out of his lungs, he couldn’t get any air back in. He said his only thoughts were that of his wife and his children and then he prayed. He was flown by medevac helicopter to Al Asad Air Force Base in Iraq, then on to Germany and finally to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. After six weeks he was discharged and started wound therapy in Elmira. At that time he thought he was going to be OK. Then everything went numb in his hands and feet and he was unable to walk. Robert spent the next two years at Walter Reed, six months in therapy and another 18 months waiting for discharge. “He’ll never be 100 percent but he is walking and using his hands. At this time his most important job today is caring for his family. Robert is very proud of his wife and five children, ages 14 to 5. Robert said, “I can drive them to school and their activities. I want them all to have good education and go to college.” Robert said, “I had great experience in the army. I learned discipline and that through hardship and sacrifice. You have an entirely new understanding and appreciation for life. I am working with other Vets now to help them transition back to society. There are a lot of little things we all have to re-learn. I hope people can understand and be patient with us.” The Club found out that Robert’s 2003 van is feeling its age and will soon have to be replaced. The Club decided to ensure his family has safe reliable transportation, with the help of the Corning American Legion, our members and our community we were able to raise $11, 500.00 at Clubfest toward a new van. Corning Country Club will continue to take donations until September 1, 2012. Donations can be sent % Michael Sweet, Corning Country Club, 2501 Country Club Drive, Corning, New York 14830. Check’s payable to Corning American Legion. All donations are 100% tax deductible. Further inquiries feel free to call 607-936-3711 or Mike’s cell at 607-765-9610

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