Bush Hosts Golf Tournament for Wounded Military

Former president speaks at dinner for wounded soldiers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Members of the U.S. armed services who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were honored Monday night during a dinner and concert following the first day of a golf tournament sponsored by former President George W. Bush.

    Bush paid tribute to the military during a brief speech at the dinner on the campus of Southern Methodist University attended by about 250 people.

    Twenty wounded military members are competing in the two-day Warrior Open tournament being held in Irving.

    "Watching these warriors play golf is fantastic," Bush said. "It is moving."

    Former PGA star Ben Crenshaw also spoke at the dinner, and country group Rascal Flatts performed.

    "All of you are heroes. We thank you for your service," singer Gary LeVox said before opening with their song, "Fast Cars and Freedom."

    Retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Dale Beatty, who lost both legs below the knee in Iraq because of an anti-tank mine, said it was nice to compete with golfers dealing with similar injuries. He also said he appreciated the fact that Bush is still involved with the troops even though he's been out of office since January 2009.

    "It really says a lot for his character," said Beatty, 33, attended the event with his 7-year-old son.

    Bush has said that, despite his desire to remain largely out of the public eye, he wants to make sure veterans and military members know they still have his support. In the spring, he joined more than a dozen wounded military members in the Warrior 100, a 100-kilometer (62 mile) mountain bike ride he hosted in West Texas.

    Bush also has made appearances at events for organizations that benefit troops. He has said he gets inspiration from meeting members of the military who have overcome serious injuries.

    After leaving office, Bush and former first lady Laura Bush bought a house in Dallas and started work on his presidential center at the SMU campus.