MARINE CORP AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Imagine being released from work early to play three days of golf on the links of Hilton Head Island with a variety of celebrities. For a group of Fightertown Marines this was their life over the Labor Day weekend.
A team of four Air Station Marines competed on the greens in the 26th Annual Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament Friday through Sunday and attended a live silent auction on Saturday in an effort to help raise money for children's charities.
"Every year we hold our event to raise money for 17 local children's charities with an emphasis on their health, welfare and immediate needs," said Kim Capin, a Celebrity Golf Tournament Council of Trustees board member.
This is the second year Marines from Fightertown have been involved in the tournament.
"It's a great event that raises money for local charities and I was happy and fortunate to be a part of it," said Cpl. Adam Bertella, a Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 332 plane captain and crew leader.
Hargray sponsored the Marines this year.
"We feel that it's a privilege and a great honor to support the men and women of the Marine Corps," said Paul Smith, the general manger of Hargray data publishing and chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Each day the four-man team played they were given the chance to play a different celebrity. Friday they were assigned Ed Marinaro, an actor and a former Minnesota Viking running back.
“It was great playing with the Marines, they were very focused on the game,” Marinaro said.
Saturday, the Marines spent the day with Matt Campbell, a former Carolina Panther offensive guard.
“The day was awesome; it was great to talk with them and get their perspective on things in the Middle East,” Campbell said.
Finally on Sunday, the Marines were matched with another National Football League star, Harold Green, a former Atlanta Falcon.
“I enjoyed playing with these guys,” Green said. “It was a true honor because of all the sacrifices they have made to protect this nation.”
The auction held Saturday featured items donated by celebrities such as entertainment keepsake and sports memorabilia.
“The charity auction was awesome. I got an autographed Doug Flynn baseball,” said Cpl. Eddie Pearce, an air command and control electronics operator for Marine Air Control Squadron 2, Detachment A. “Doug Flynn has been my favorite baseball player since I was a little kid.”
The event also gave the Marines a chance to forget about everything else going on and relax with their families, according to Gayle Wingo, the tournament coordinator.
“It was nice to come out here and take it easy,” said Sgt. Michael Bickerton, a VMFA(AW)-533 ordnance shift supervisor. “After seven months in Iraq it’s nice to relax anywhere,”
The council wants to give another group of Marines a chance to compete in next year’s tournament, according to Smith.
“It’s important we honor and show our service members we respect what they do for us,” Wingo said.