Steve Post cannot recall anything about the events of February 8, 2017, and that is probably just as well. However, the 65-year-old retired attorney has learned from others that what began for him as an average day playing on the golf course at Frisco Lakes Golf Club quickly became anything but usual. On that day, he went into full cardiac arrest and collapsed on the thirteenth green, about a mile from his home in the Frisco Lakes by Del Webb adult active-living community.
The medical episode was witnessed by fellow Frisco Lakes resident Norm Burgess, a former Vietnam War-era military medic, who jumped into action and performed CPR on Mr. Post until paramedics from nearby Frisco Fire Station No. 7 arrived on the scene. EMTs drove their ambulance onto the golf course and shocked Mr. Post’s heart with a defibrillator three times before reviving him. He eventually was transported to a local hospital for treatment. “I have always had a great respect for firefighters and police, and this just reinforced it,” says Mr. Post, who credits paramedics, as well as Mr. Burgess, for saving his life.
However, members of the Frisco Lakes Veterans’ Memorial Association are confident there is more they can do to show their appreciation for the hard work and bravery exhibited daily by first responders locally and throughout the nation. Four years ago, the organization comprised of about 250 military vets, founded its annual First Responders Golf Tournament. The proceeds benefit the Frisco Firefighters Association Scholarship Fund, as well as the Frisco Police Department’s Children Scholarship Program and Officer’s Association.
This year’s tournament, a mixed scramble featuring a shotgun start, is scheduled for May 17 at Frisco Lakes Golf Club. It is expected to draw around 140 golfers including first responders, Frisco Lakes residents and members of the public. The event will begin with a breakfast for Frisco firefighters, EMTs and law enforcement officers, for whom the tournament’s $50 entry fee is waived. On the course, first responders will be invited to participate in special putting and long-drive contests, and will be teamed with the citizens they protect and serve to play 18 holes of golf before being treated to lunch. “We really get to interact with them,” says Frisco Lakes resident and Veterans’ Memorial Association President David Maxfield, who served as a U.S. Army specialist during the Vietnam War. “You get to talk to them for three or four hours and learn about them and where they are from. You kind of learn that we, as Americans, have more in common than not.”
Founded in 2010, the Frisco Lakes Veterans’ Memorial Association is no stranger to hosting golf tournaments. Over the past seven years, the nonprofit organization has raised about $100,000 for a trio of North Texas veterans’ charities — USO Dallas/Fort Worth, Defenders of Freedom and Homeless Veterans Service of Dallas. It supports these organizations with funds from its annual Charity Golf Tournament, which is usually held during the fall at Frisco Lakes Golf Club. (Last year’s tournament was cancelled, so Frisco Lakes community members and Frisco businesses that typically sponsor the event could instead allocate funds to assist hurricane-ravaged areas of South Texas).
In 2014, association member Mike Martin initiated the idea for the group to also host a tournament benefitting first responders following a rash of episodes of civil unrest and violent attacks that plagued law enforcement officers in cities around the nation. “We are really fortunate to live in a city like Frisco, where we do not appear to have those problems,” Mr. Maxfield shares.
“There is a sort of kinship that exists between military members and first responders,” says Dick Peasley, a founding Veterans’ Memorial Association member. He piloted U.S. Marine helicopters during the Vietnam War and went on to serve as commanding officer of the Presidential Helicopter Squadron. During the 1980s, he shuttled President Ronald Reagan aboard Marine One. “I think it is a willingness to sacrifice and step up and do the right thing,” Mr. Peasely shares. “Kind of like running to the crisis instead of running away from a crisis.”
Veterans’ Memorial Association members also wanted to find a way to thank local first responders, especially the firefighters and paramedics from Station No. 7, who are in Frisco Lakes several times daily tending to service calls and medical emergencies experienced by some residents who call the age 55-and-older community home. “I think most of us feel blessed that we live in a community like this that has such good interaction with the police department and the fire department,” Mr. Maxfield, says. He explains that residents often bring food to the nearby fire station. “We see them so much and they are always so nice and polite to us,” he shares.
Jacob Hall is a firefighter/EMT at Station No. 7. “We go over there a lot,” he says of Frisco Lakes, explaining that many of the calls the station receives are to assist residents in changing their smoke-detector batteries or to help them after falls. “Oftentimes, their spouses are not able to do that and if they do attempt it, they might get injured themselves. So, we go over and pick them up.” Given that his own grandparents also live in the community, Mr. Hall says he has gotten to know some of the neighbors quite well. “It is fun to hear their life stories. They love to share, too. It is just good to interact with them. They are close to our station, so it gives us an opportunity to do that.”
Chief of Police John Bruce has played in each of the previous First Responders Golf Tournaments, and he plans to be on the course again this year. “It is always a blast to get out among our citizens and have a good time with them — get to know them on a deeper (level). We just go out there and have a lot of fun,” he shares. “We appreciate that they want to honor public safety. A lot of these men and women who are involved (in the tournament) have served this country through the military, and they recognize what we do for them. They understand what it is we do on a day-in, day-out basis,” he says. “Most of us are called to this occupation, whether it be police or fire, and we just want to come in and do our job and sneak out the back door. But we are humbled by this honor to join them in a game of golf and just have a good time.”
Following the last event, the Veterans’ Memorial Association made a pair of $9,000 donations to both the Frisco Fire and Police Departments’ scholarship funds. Some of the cash came courtesy of a $5,000 donation made by Mr. Post, as a token of his appreciation for the lifesaving efforts of first responders who were on the golf course, as well as working behind the scenes during his medical episode. He has promised to match that donation at this year’s tournament, during which he hopes that he and Mr. Burgess can team up and play with a couple of the firefighters and paramedics who assisted him.
Applications for members of the public to play in this year’s tournament are available at Frisco Lakes Golf Club, located at 7170 Anthem Drive. For additional information, call 972.292.3089.