Grabowski golfs in TEE Tournament

Grabowski golfs in TEE Tournament James Grabowski, Vermillion, a 70-year-old visually impaired veteran, golfed in the eighth annual Training, Exposure, Experience (TEE) Tournament for Blinded Veterans in Iowa City, IA, hosted by the Iowa City VA Medical Center Sept. 11-13.

The Iowa City Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) organized the TEE Tournament which gives blinded veterans at all levels of sight impairment opportunities for travel, golf, bowling and leisure activities. This event was co-sponsored by the Blinded Veterans Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This year presented a unique challenge to these blind golfers, as the tournament coincided with the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Special challenges to change airline flights once air travel resumed, made the trip home more anxious and uncertain than usual.

In true veteran spirit, they refused to let the tragic events slow them down or stop the activities that have come to mean so much to them.

Grabowski, an Air Force veteran, was one of 120 legally blind veterans who participated in three days of activities, including a bowling clinic and Casino Night in addition to the golfing.

"This is my fourth TEE Tourney. Just the involvement with someone who has the same impairment as you make me feel great. I look forward to this tourney each year," Grabowski said.

An army of volunteers helped make this a total experience for men and women veterans from 28 states, New York to California. The Iowa City VAMC recruited over 260 staff and community volunteers as transportation drivers, golf buddies and food servers.

The U.S. Golf Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, AMVETS Auxiliary, and various other veterans service organizations also supported the TEE Tournament. Local businesses donated prizes and equipment, including the golf courses, greens fees and lessons.

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