By LARRY VAUGHT
LEXINGTON — Former Marine Corporal Kevin Blanchard admits he didn’t know much about Jacob Tamme a few months ago other than he was a National Football League player.
That has dramatically changed.
“We know plenty about him now,” said Blanchard Monday during the Swings for Soldiers Classic at the University Club, a golf scramble to raise funds for Homes For Our Troops.
Blanchard and his fiancee, Myra Kahn, will be getting a new home in Crozet, Va., in part due to proceeds from this event. He said it would all be on one floor and have wider hallways that he needs.
Kevin Blanchard will never forget the events of June 30, 2005. The weather won’t let him.
Blanchard was with the 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Division, driving a vehicle in northwest Iraq on June 30, 2005, when he ran over an improvised explosive device. The blast led to a lost left leg, a permanently damaged right leg and over 30 surgeries over the next 13 months.
“This fundraiser is just incredible,” Blanchard said. “It’s really exciting, and I love to play golf, too. We have been to other golf charity events, but nothing quite like this as an honoree. This is very, very special. It’s unique from most events and we are really happy to be here.”
Kahn is not a golfer yet, but she rode in his cart during the 18-hole round today. Blanchard saidthe two met in Washington, D.C., about two years ago a fundraising event.
“We will be getting married in the same area where our home is being built,” Blanchard said.
Kahn said getting to have dinner with past honorees and their families on Sunday night along with Jacob Tamme and his wife, Allison, was “overwhelming in a good way” for her.
“Everyone is so kind and welcoming. We do get a sense we are entering a family with other recipients here and their families,” she said.
The Tammes call it their “Swings Family” and were thrilled to have past honorees here Monday. They were Chase Matthews of Eddyville, Kennth Harker of Evansvlle, Brett Bondurant of Lawrenceburg (Ind.), Jacob Lyeria of Milroy (Ind.), and Zachary Nelson of Nobelsville (Ind.).
“The Tammes are so incredible. They are so grounded and down to earth. It really does feel wonderful to be part of this,” Kahn said.
This was the seventh year for the event that has raised over $500,000 for Homes For Our Troops. Over 200 golfers participated Monday and they were met at the front entrance to the University Club by Allison and Jacob Tamme, who passed out special gifts to each participant.
“We just look for ways to make it special and let folks know that we appreciate them being here,” Allison Tamme said.
Jacob Tamme said he still feels in awe of the veterans who served our country.
“Anything we can do to help them, we want to do,” Jacob Tamme said. “This is something we really believe in and get a lot more out of it than we put in. Seeing all these honorees here today just shows what this event means.”