Soldier On golf proves big hit


ABERCROMBIE — Golfers are getting back into the game in a wonderful way, thanks to the Soldier On Canada program that visited the Abercrombie Country Club last week.

Michael Feyko, the PGA of Canada’s coach and co-ordinator and a Class A teaching professional, was joined by Soldier On national operations manager Joe Kirady and two Nova Scotia golfers — Jim Lowther from Halifax and Ernie MacKinnon from Cape Breton for a day of golfing and golf instruction at the club on July 30.

Soldier On and the PGA of Canada have been partners in the Canadian Armed Forces program for more than a decade. It is designed to encourage current and retired military personnel to become more active through golf and other activities. Some golfers are taking up the sport after not having golfed for a while for various reasons during active military duty.

“Our sole mandate is to recruit ill and injured veterans and service personnel into the sport again,” Kirady said. “It’s a simple recipe but has profound results for people who lost that relationship.”

The tour included a stop at Fox Harbour resort. It raises funds through sponsorships, which this year total $62,000 compared to $47,000 last year.

“It means 15 ill and injured members of Soldier On from the Atlantic area had four days together to play golf,” Kirady said.

Feyko used golf to assist in his recovery from injuries he sustained while serving in the military in the 1990s. He has been in the Soldier On program for five years and understands how therapeutic it is for golfers, including those with post traumatic stress disorder.

“It’s four and a half hours when they don’t have to think of anything else,” Feyko said.

Jim Lowther from Halifax is golfing for the first time in years after three shoulder surgeries related to his military service and appreciates the opportunity to take part in Soldier On.

“I’d never have come out for this otherwise,” he said.

“It’s huge,” said Ernie MacKinnon, who is completing his third season in the program.

Soldier On relies on venues like Abercrombie Country Club to host events in addition to the donations the organization receives.

“It was a really good day; the golfers had a blast on the golf course,” club golf director Jonathan Garron said. ” We’d be happy to have them again.”

From left: Joe Kirady, Jim Lowther, Mike Feyko and Ernie MacKinnon hold the Soldier On Flag that accompanied golfers during the program’s recent Maritime tour. (Goodwin photo)