On Sunday, March 10, THE PLAYERS and Birdies for the Brave partnered with Operation Shower to host the ninth annual group baby shower for 35 expectant moms-to-be at TPC Sawgrass.
Held at the Patriots’ Outpost located near the No. 16 tee, the theme for this year’s shower was “County Fair.” The walls were splashed with red, white and blue county fair banners, and the table sets included popcorn and animal crackers. The mothers honored at the event are either active military duty or spouses of active military duty personnel.
Leigh Russell, PGA TOUR manager in the Tournament Activation/Outreach department, helped organize the event.
“You'll see that it’s just like a shower your best friend throws for you,” Russell said. “It is decorated to the nines.”
The shower served lunch and dessert, featured a onesie decorating table and raffles and provided “Shower-in-a-Box” gifts for the moms. The event even surprised guests with an “Oprah-moment” giveaway, which included the more expensive items such as strollers and car seats for every mom. Moms additionally received diaper bags, diapers, baby clothes, crib liners and other necessities for welcoming their newborns.
“Not only are they getting material gifts that help a lot of things,” Russell said. “They get some of the connections made during the shower. We hear a lot from the moms that when their significant other is deployed, they are here alone. It's nice just to connect with the other moms. They really leave with a friend and there is tears sometimes. It is really an emotional kind of event.”
With support from THE PLAYERS Championship, the Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation, Chicco and Birdies for the Brave, the event was hosted by PGA TOUR player Jim Furyk and his wife, Tabitha Furyk. Special guests at the shower also included Capt. and Mrs. Michael Connor, commanding officer of NAS Jacksonville; Capt. and Mrs. Brian Weiss, executive officer of NAS Jacksonville; Cmdr. Patricia Tyler, executive officer of Naval Station Mayport; and Patty Horoho, lt. gen., USA, retired, and CEO of OptumServe.
Established in 2007, Operation Shower (www.operationshower.org) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating and honoring military families by providing joyful baby showers for military moms-to-be to ease the stress of deployment. To date, Operation Shower has honored more than 5,800 military moms from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard.
A collaboration of PGA TOUR, Inc., PGA TOUR Charities, Inc. and the TPC Network, Birdies for the Brave is a national military outreach initiative that was originally created by PGA TOUR player Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, along with Glenn Cohen. Since 2004, Birdies for the Brave has raised millions of dollars for 11 military homefront charities and hosts military appreciation activities during more than 80 tournaments annually on the PGA TOUR. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org or follow them on Facebook.