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Student veteran organizes charity golf benefit

By Jessica Wilson
On March 21, 2014

On Sept. 13, 2011, Lance Corporal Kevin Honaker of the U.S. Marines was performing his mission of locating and deactivating IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Afghanistan when one unexpectedly exploded beneath him, causing irreversible damage and forcing doctors to amputate both of his legs.

Following the explosion, Honaker received care in Walter Reed Military Hospital in Maryland where he endured 10 surgeries, a year of rehab and was fitted with prosthetic legs.

During his time at Walter Reed Hospital, Honaker said he and his family received support from a program called America's Fund. It is a program of the Semper Fi Fund and was created to financially aid critically injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families, according to the program's website. 

Honaker, who is now home and a sophomore at Tech, is preparing to give back to the program that helped him during his time of need. He is hosting the Help Our Heroes Golf Scramble and Silent Auction.

"The Semper Fi Fund itself was my inspiration [for hosting the event]," Honaker said. "I spent a year at Walter Reed Military Hospital, and they were always there for me and my family."

The celebrity silent auction and 18-hole golf scramble will take place at Sparta Country Club in Kevin's hometown of Sparta, Tenn. from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on April 19.

The golf scramble will consist of four-player teams. Honaker said admission is $60 per player, which includes golf and a cart, and a $100 deposit is required at registration.

Honaker said he had been looking for a way to give back to the Semper Fi Fund when Greg Gaynor, vice president of Sparta Country Club and tournament director, mentioned the idea of the event to him.

"I jumped on board instantly," Honaker said. 

When Gaynor first approached Honaker with the idea, he offered to donate the proceeds directly to him and his family, but Honaker wanted the money to go elsewhere.

"Without hesitation, Kevin said that the Semper Fi Fund had helped him and his family the most after his injury and that he wanted to help Semper Fi Fund in return," Gaynor said.

Honaker said his goal is to raise as much money for America's Fund and the Semper Fi Fund as possible. He added that he wants this to remind people that military personnel are still getting critically injured every day, even though the war is coming to a close. 

"Hopefully, this golf tournament can become an annual occurrence," Honaker said.

Signups for the tournament are located at the Sparta Country Club at 129 Lester Flatt Rd.

To sponsor, donate, or volunteer, contact Greg Gaynor at 931-252-0397 or at

More information on Honaker and the charity event can be found at

The items Gaynor has collected so far for the celebrity auction include:

·a football autographed by Hall of Fame UT Football Coach Johnny Majors

·a football autographed by Kansas City Chiefs Asst. Head Coach David Culley

·a baseball autographed by Hall of Fame Detroit Tiger Al Kaline

·a copy of "Killing Jesus" autographed by Bill O'Reilly of Fox News

·a copy of "George Washington's Secret Six" autographed by Brian Kilmeade of Fox News

·original art hangings by Sparta resident Megan Blaylock

·hand painted china plates by Sparta resident Geneva Hayes

·a gift certificate for a catered family meal by Sparta resident and caterer Amber Weatherly

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