Paradise Valley residents promote charity golf tourney for disabled players

Jason Graber drives from his Stand Up and Play wheelchair. From left to right, Nick Bright, Tim Surry and Sara Callagy look on.

Jason Graber drives from his Stand Up and Play wheelchair. From left to right, Nick Bright, Tim Surry and Sara Callagy look on.

Navy veteran and recent amputee, Ted Welty, 83, approached his second hole of the 360 Charity Golf Tournament held recently in Mesa, and aided by his walker, swung, and yelled “gin!” as the ball sunk straight in.

Assisted by Ability360’s Sports and Fitness Center’s state-of-the-art equipment, one disabled member of Ability 360 played alongside three sponsors in each team for this one-of-a-kind adaptive golf tournament.

Ted Welty, sitting, recently took part in the 360 Charity Golf Tournament held recently in Mesa. Photo by Randy Bingham.

Ted Welty, sitting, recently took part in the 360 Charity Golf Tournament held recently in Mesa. Photo by Randy Bingham.

According to Ted Welty’s son, Andy Welty, Ted hasn’t played golf in almost five years since losing his leg due to circulation issues.

An even more impressive moment of the day was when Ted Welty’s team was announced as the first-place winners of the tournament.

“It was a big moment for him, after almost five years of not playing golf,” said Andy.

In collaboration with her father, the owner of the Longbow Gold Course, Meghan Fable of Paradise Valley, development director of Ability360, coordinated the tournament to raise money for the center as well as represent their adaptive golf program in action.

“We’re really appreciative and grateful to Longbow’s generosity in making this first-ever charity golf event possible,” Phil Pangrazio, CEO of Ability 360, said.

According to their website, Ability360 is the only facility of its kind in the western U.S. and the only one of two in the nation.

Ms. Fable hopes to inspire others with events like this in order to make adaptive sports more common and to educate the community at large about Ability360 and adaptive sports.

Ms. Fable noted that the Globe Foundation, owned by the Getz family of Paradise Valley, were “instrumental in getting the ongoing adaptive golf program up and running.”

Among the sponsors of the event, Paradise Valley resident Jim Kaiser, CEO of J-Curve Technologies, came out with his son to have fun and see adaptive golf in action.

“The main focus is giving back to the community … and we’re having a lot of fun; that’s the key,” Mr. Kaiser said.

The players were all seen smiling and laughing, throwing light jabs at opposing teams, as they drove the course.

Including their “ball drop” raffle they hosted, which sold over 1,400 balls, and the 144 sponsors, in total the event raised over $45,000.

Ability360, formerly Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, offers and promotes programs to empower people with disabilities to take personal responsibility so that they may achieve or continue independent lifestyles within the community.  Ability360 is located at 5025 E. Washington St. Ste. 200, Phoenix.

Visit www.ability360.org or call 602-256-2245.

Editor’s note: Devon Cordell is a student at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.