Story on Sergeant Joey Bozik, U.S. Army, and love of golf.
In October 2004 Sergeant Joey Bozik was in Iraq and riding in the
passenger seat of a Hummer, when the front right tire ran over a
bomb planted in the road by insurgents. Joey came home without his
legs, right hand and his left hand severely damaged. To date, Joey
is just one of 11,400 soldiers that have returned home from Afghanistan
and Iraq disabled.
Today, Joey is receiving therapy at Walter Reed
Hospital in Washington DC. Joey is determined that he will play
golf once again. The community, The National Alliance for Accessible
Golf, and Project GAIN all salute Sergeant Bozik.
How Paths Cross: Sergeant Joey Bozik and The National Alliance for Accessible Golf
In August 2004 Larry Burkhart the CEO of Nevada County Resource and Development Center invited
Patrick Yates, President of USA Golf to be the guest on his KNCO weekly radio program in Grass Valley,
California. The hour long interview was about the golf products Patrick has invented and his involvement with
the disabled community and the great game of golf. This radio program led to the following introductions:
Dave and Cyndy Aldous are involved in two different organizations, "Soldiers Angels" and "Friends of Nevada County Military"
that give support to our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. In October 2004 they learned about Joey from the Soldiers
Angels website and they have corresponded with Joey's
mother, Gail, on a regular basis. In February 2005, Cyndy was telling a friend about this remarkable 26 year old
who returned from Iraq with no legs and no right hand and Joey's determination and optimism to live a normal life and his greatest dream was
to play golf once again. Cyndy's friend reported that she heard the above mentioned radio program.
Cyndy and Dave Aldous made contact with Patrick and Juanita Yates and learned that people with all different
types of disabilities played golf and there were devices and programs available that make it possible for those that are
disabled to be independent in playing the game.
At this meeting the topic of "How can we get this
young man back into the game of golf" was discussed.
One of the first ideas was to send Joey golf gift package. Included
in the package was an EZT Golf Ball Feeder, Cookie Cutter Game,
Pathfinder, Chairman T-up Club, special made putters and golf clubs.
One week after this meeting, Joey received his package.
More Community Support for Joey and his desire to return to the Links
Merrill DuBach lives on a golf course near Sacramento, California.
Parkinson's disease made walking difficult for Merrill to play golf.
In August 2004, Merrill participated in a golf program at Haggin
Oaks Golf Course to learn to drive and play golf off a Model Tee
single riding golf car, developed by Patrick and Phillip Yates.
In September 2004, Merrill's wife, Peggy Lee, purchased a Model
Tee so Merrill could continue to enjoy the game he loved.
February 2005, Merrill and Peggy Lee contacted Patrick and Juanita
Yates, stating that due to advance Parkinson's disease he could
no longer play golf and therefore did not need the Model Tee car
Patrick and Juanita Yates returned the DuBach's correspondence with
the idea of donating the Model Tee to Joey. Merrill replied, "I
can't think of a better use for the Model Tee and what can we do
to get it to him?"
March 2005, To honor and show appreciation to Merrill DuBach and
Joey Bozik, a special crate signing ceremony was held at the Haggin
Oaks Golf Club in Sacramento, California. Several individuals were
present to sign and offer the support to Joey and to honor Merrill
for his generosity.
The Final Chapter (?)
Further community support was provided by The American River Packaging
Company of Sacramento. They provided the cardboard box that was
used during the crate signing ceremonies and that will be used to
ship the Model Tee. Yellow Freight arranged and provided for all
shipping and delivery of the Model Tee from Sacramento to Baltimore
Maryland. The General Manager of Yellow Freight delivered the Model
Tee to The Timbers at Troy Golf Course in Elkridge, Maryland for
the uncrating ceremony.
Good Luck Joey and thanks to the community at
large for all their support.