Carl Meyer is back on the golf course for his 100 Holes for Our Heroes fundraising event on July 4th
There are two things that Carl Meyer is absolutely passionate about: Golf and America’s military veterans. So, perhaps it’s no surprise that his extraordinary dedication to both converges each year on a day that’s bedecked in expressions of patriotism – and red, white & blue.
“The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate the independence of our country,” says Carl. “The reality is that, without our veterans for the past 200+ years, we could very easily be speaking Russian or German or Japanese.” He believes strongly that the men and women who have been willing to put their lives on the line for this country have made significant sacrifices, stressing, “We wouldn’t live in the freedom we enjoy every day without that.”
So, this year – as he’s done every Independence Day for the past nine years – Carl will be teeing off on his first hole of the day while most of us are still sound asleep. The significance of that first swing is noteworthy because it will be just the first of hundreds he takes in his 10th annual pursuit of fundraising dollars.
Carl launched his 100 Holes for our Heroes benefiting Hire Heroes USA back in 2008, and the irony is that – in all that time – he has never actually played 100 holes. He always plays more, A LOT MORE! In that inaugural event, he played 108 holes. By 2014, he had reached 135, and then – just one year later – he jumped to 155 holes.
Carl will tell you that he found some extra motivation from donors who made “per hole played” pledges.
But it should also be known that he possesses a very personal and innate drive to see just how many times he can visit the front and back nine in an uber-sized day of golf at Wisconsin’s Chenequa Country Club. After all, this is a golfer who can regularly play 36 holes a day for several days in a row – without even thinking twice. He has no special training regimen. He just loves golf that much!
Last year, Carl’s first hole of the day was his 1,000th played in this endeavor. More than 14 hours later – when he finally decided to call it day – he had added 161 additional holes and several more scorecards to his tally.
Yes, you read that right. Carl played a total of 162 holes – or, NINE complete rounds – in one day on the golf course. To add some additional context to all of this, Carl says there are times when he will play through the same group of golfers three times in just 18 holes.
It’s not just anyone who can do that. Carl would also be the first to point out that it’s also not just anyone who serves in the U.S. Armed Forces.
During World War II, when the U.S. had a population of about 140 million, just over 16 million served in the military. Contrast that with America’s population today of more than 326 million and a U.S. military that numbers only 1.3 million active duty members. Each year, approximately 200,000 of them separate or retire from the military and move into the civilian workforce.
Marine Corps veteran John Matter was one of them. He served as a sniper in a number of combat zones, including Kosovo, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a recipient of three Purple Hearts.
John is local to the golf course where Carl makes his rounds every July 4th – so he he spends an hour or two with Carl to ride in the golf cart and speak with donors. He credits Hire Heroes USA with helping him get his first civilian job when he retired from the military.
John is one of more than 17,000 clients that Hire Heroes USA has assisted into meaningful employment since 2007 – each of them with their own personal story of military service and the struggles they faced, like underemployment or unemployment, in finding their own path to a post-military career. These are the men and women that inspire Carl to do what he does every Independence Day.
The numbers Carl has amassed over the past nine years have added up. To date, he has played a remarkable 1,161 holes in only nine single days of golf, and he still has all the scorecards to prove it. Along the way, he has also raised more than half-a-million dollars to support Hire Heroes USA’s continued efforts to provide free, personalized career services to transitioning military members, veterans and military spouses.
If you speak with Carl, the discussion inevitably turns to why he takes on this mammoth golfing ritual year-after-year, and he’ll describe his motivation with a determination that is matched by his genuine and very personal desire to make a difference.
“I just feel that we’re blessed within a country where we have men and women who are willing to raise their hand and serve our nation. And I think that we have a debt to them when they come back – to give them an opportunity – not a handout – but an opportunity to live the American dream they fought for.”
“There are roughly half a million veterans who are unemployed and about 270,000 separating from the military service every year. So, there’s significant demand and need for the services that Hire Heroes USA provides. I couldn’t be more proud to be aligned with a charity that has the quality, structure and metrics, as well as the underlying foundational vision and mission that Hire Heroes USA has. They operate much more like a business than a typical charity.”
Carl quickly adds, “They’re people who work their butts off!”
Every Fourth of July, we hold Carl in the same regard. How many holes will it be this year?
Written by Hire Heroes USA’s Kathleen Saal
Join Carl’s team of support by clicking this link