Henry County veteran finds peace in golfing; planning upcoming tournament
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. (CBS46) - As the nation paused on Memorial Day to remember the fallen men and women of the United States Armed Forces, one veteran in Henry County is working to improve the quality of life for American heroes still living.
There’s nothing more relaxing to Ramiro Headges than a game of golf. Headges served in the U.S. Army for 26 years. His last assignment was in 2006 when he was deployed to Iraq. He was injured and later diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental depression.
“For a while, I did not want to admit that something was wrong with me,” Headges said. “People kept saying I changed, and I said, ‘No.’”
After years of denial and moments of hopelessness, Headges attended a golf clinic. He instantly fell in love with the game and the peace it gave him. It became his physical and mental rehabilitative outlet.
“It takes me away from that dark place where I once was,” he said. “Golf has changed my life. Actually, it saved my life.”
Since 2010, more than 65,000 veterans have died by suicide – more than the total number of deaths from combat during the Vietnam War and the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, according to the White House.
Now, as the director of Salute Military Golf Association Georgia, Headges is gearing up for the group’s inaugural golf tournament at Eagle’s Landing Country Club on June 6. Money raised will support post 9/11 combat wounded veterans, introducing them to the game of golf over an eight-week period.
The nonprofit will also provide mentors for a year.
“They are taught golf etiquette, the game of golf, and how to be a better citizen given the conditions we have sustained,” Headges explained. “Every life that we can save, every person, every veteran…we do this because life is precious.”
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