Santino “Links” Hempstead Town to Troops, Donates Stray Golf Balls to Soldiers Overseas

From the beautiful seaside Lido Golf Club in Lido Beach, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino announced an exciting new initiative that is sure to be a “hole-in-one” success story. Starting with today’s inaugural “golf bag” full of gifts for soldiers, Hempstead Town will be donating all recovered golf balls from both the Merrick and Lido golf courses to soldiers stationed overseas and wounded warriors who are stateside through the “Bunkers in Baghdad” charity. Joining the Supervisor for this uplifting announcement was Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Councilman Dennis Dunne Sr., United Veterans Organization President Frank Colon and Secretary Lenny Goldstein.

“Both of our beautiful Hempstead Town golf courses receive a large amount of play, so much so that our employees are constantly finding stray golf balls while tending to the courses,” began Santino. “‘Bunkers in Baghdad’ offers a gratifying way to deal with our surplus of golf balls while also giving us the extra opportunity to continuously support our troops.”

“Bunkers in Baghdad” is a not-for-profit charity that collects and sends used golf balls, clubs and equipment to our troops around the world, with a focus on the men and women currently serving in combat zones. It was founded in 2008 when charity president Joe Hanna learned that stationed soldiers created makeshift driving ranges in the desert as a form of relief from the stress of war. Starting with a small initial shipment, “Bunkers in Baghdad” has sent over 8 million golf balls and over 600,000 clubs to Afghanistan and 64 other countries, as well as to facilities in each of the 50 states. “Bunkers in Baghdad” has been praised numerous times by scores of deployed units for raising morale and providing a positive recreational outlet for troops.

“Getting involved with ‘Bunkers in Baghdad’ is a wonderful way to utilize all of the extra golf balls collected by the golf course employees,” said Goosby. “I admire the Supervisor’s humanity in this kind gesture.”

In addition to collecting golf balls, Supervisor Santino is also inviting anyone who has extra golf clubs or equipment lying around the home to bring them to Lido Golf Club. From there, the town will ship the collected items, along with our golf ball packages, to hero soldiers currently stationed overseas or to wounded warriors.

“We are extremely grateful to the Town of Hempstead, and to everyone who plays at Merrick or Lido this season, for welcoming Bunkers in Baghdad into the strong golf community here. The Bunkers Day kickoff event and any equipment donations that may follow speak volumes about the warmth and generosity of the people who live, work, and play in Hempstead,” said Bunkers in Baghdad Founder and President Joe Hanna. “Every contribution — whether it’s a handful of golf balls from the garage, a single putter, or a second-best set of clubs — represents a comforting slice of home and a gesture of appreciation for the sacrifices made by the men and women of our military. To a U.S. soldier stationed overseas, a wounded warrior making her way through injury rehabilitation, or a veteran of foreign service, it means the world to know that the folks in places like Hempstead respect their service and are thinking of them. We cannot thank you enough for your kindness and consideration.”

“Next time the ball slices the way you don’t want it to, drop another ball and take a second shot,” said D’Esposito. “That stray ball will be found by a golf course employee and will be collected for a great cause.”

Hempstead Town operates two stunning public courses. Merrick Golf Course, a 9-hole, par 36 course right next to Merrick Cove, and Lido Golf Club, an 18-hole, par 72 course in Lido Beach, overlooking the scenic Reynolds Channel. The Lido Golf Club has received a surge of players since it reopened this past Father’s Day after an extensive two-week rehabilitation period. Hempstead Town assumed the day-to-day management of the popular golfing destination after decades of private management. Since its reopening, employees have been finding and stockpiling stray balls by the hundreds. Additionally, Lido Golf Club now accepts online reservations, visit www.lidogolfcourse.com to reserve tee times.

“Thanking our troops only goes so far,” said Dunne. “Thanks to the Supervisor’s new initiative, we’ll be able to support our troops by sending them a ‘slice’ of home with ‘Bunkers in Baghdad.’”

“I invite players from all over to come to a Hempstead Town golf course and lose some golf balls for a great cause,” concluded Santino. “Now’s a perfect time to teach a friend or relative the game of golf, just be sure to bring plenty of balls.”