By Gary Nager

Although the name of the tournament changed for last year’s event, the sixth annual golf tournament to benefit the Fisher House at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. south of Fletcher Ave. has raised about $25,000 to benefit the residence on the hospital’s campus that allows the families of injured servicemen and women to stay close to their wounded warriors at no cost to them.

Although tournament organizer Valerie Casey has had to change the location of the event and changed the name of the tourney to the “Fisher House Golf Classic” last year, the 2012 tournament, which was held November 4 at Heritage Isles Country Club, again featured a packed field of more than 140 golfers who enjoyed great food and other on-course amenities. There also were again both live and silent auctions to up the amount raised.

Fisher House Tampa manager Paula Welenc again thanked everyone present for helping, especially thanking Valerie — “our little Energizer bunny” — for all of her efforts to keep the Haley Fisher House able to fulfill its mission of serving the families of those who make such huge sacrifices so all of us can continue to enjoy our freedom.

Also on hand for the tourney was U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Martin Steele, who is on the Board of the Fisher House Foundation and who also thanked Casey and her crew of volunteers for another successful event. Gen. Steele also was part of the day’s winning foursome in the shotgun scramble event.

But of course, as Valerie is always quick to point out, the true beneficiaries of the tournament and all Fisher House services are the wounded warriors and their families, including Logan (photo, top right), a young marine paralyzed in a training accident whose grandmother (who is responsible for his care) told Valerie, “I really don’t know how I could’ve taken care of him if not for the Fisher House.”

For additional information about the Tampa Fisher House at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital (13000 BBD Blvd.), call 910-3000 or visit

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