Saturday’s 1st Marine Division Association fund-raiser was about more than golf and more than Marines.

“This event, this golf tournament, it’s to honor all the young people we have deployed all over the world,” said fund-raising committee chairman Jerry Bakke. “And that means recognizing all of them, not only Marines.”

The event took place at the Sun City Country Club with a few goals, Bakke said.

“We’re out here to have fun with the young guys,” he said. “It’s about raising as much money as we can to support the programs we offer.”

The ceremony began at 8 a.m., with the raising of the American flag and the flying of flags for all branches of the military. That was followed by a 21-gun salute and a moment of reflection. Mary Ruehs was on hand as part of Post 62 of the American Legion Auxiliary. Her group and the 1st Marine Division Association have simular goals, she said, and so it made sense for them to work together.

“We just wanted to come out and show support for our troops and maybe pick up a few new members,” she said. “It’s very exciting for us to be here.”

Al San Souci, commander of American Legion Post 62, said Saturday’s fund-raiser was meaningful for him on a personal level.

“I’m here to support the Marine Corps because I was a Marine,” he said. “I’m sure it means a lot to them to see all of us here.”

The “all of us” San Souci referred to included dozens of motorcyclists, members of the Phoenix Motorcycle Riders and many of them retired military themselves.

“Absolutely, it’s a show of support,” said Gary Mankus. “We appreciate what they do for us and we’re happy to be here.”

Jeff Dempsey may be reached at 623-876-2531 or jdempsey@yourwestvalley.com.

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