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Body shop supports nonprofit with charitable work

 

By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor 

  Sometimes being in the wrong place can lead to the right opportunity. That’s a brief description of how one local auto body shop came to help with a wounded military nonprofit in the hope of creating a long-term partnership.

  James Campbell, owner of Campbell’s Customs in Hampton, and his team recently donated thousands of dollars of work to assist Warrior Golf Camps of America (WGCA), an organization focused on rehabilitation of wounded military personnel. Ted Arnold, the founder of WGCA, visited Campbell’s weeks ago in search of a bed liner for his truck. Arnold began explaining his project of creating a marketing tool for his organization, and Campbell wanted to assist in any way he could.

Campbell’s Customs presents Warrior Golf Camps of America with two newly painted dragsters, which will be used to help raise funds for the nonprofit.                            Photo by Alex Welch

  “He asked if I knew anything about putting stickers on cars. So I said, “Why would you want stickers on there? You need to paint it.’ One thing led to another, and he brought in two dragsters, a golf cart and a car,” said Campbell.

  Arnold wanted everything painted with the WGCA logo to help attract attention from passersby at fundraising events. Arnold said his organization has been trying to raise money for the golf camps, but they haven’t spent any money on marketing or advertising.

  “We go to different events and try to get the word out about our program. What we’ve learned is, it doesn’t matter what you’re telling the people if you can’t get them to stop to see what you’re doing,” said Arnold.

  WGCA hosted its first event in 2012, but last year it didn’t have enough funding to put on the camp. After hearing about their struggles, Campbell said his “heart went out to him [Arnold],” noting that he could relate with his brother and stepfather being retired veterans. He decided to his shop would paint both dragsters, the golf cart and the car for free.

  “This stuff’s needed. There’s not enough attention put towards our veterans. There really isn’t,” said Campbell. “For somebody to actually take their entire life and throw at this, win, lose or draw, I’m thinking, ‘If he can do this, why can’t I do something?’”

  Arnold started the idea of a warrior golf camp from his personal experience. He was injured in Afghanistan back in 2008, and he said he was then assigned to a warrior provision unit upon returning to the U.S. After getting the chance to play the game, he said golf made a huge difference.

  “I had the choice of either answering phones or playing golf one day, so I chose golf. I fell in love with the game and realized I felt peaceful out there, something I hadn’t felt since I’d been back,” said Arnold. “People suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, they generally have trouble with quiet time. It tends to lead them down darks paths towards depression. Golf is a relaxing sport in the sense that it gives them that time to relax, but it also keeps them focused. It also helps with motor skills and gives them exercise.”

  The golf camps host up to 15 wounded warriors and their families for a four-day weekend. WGCA works on restoring the family bond over the course of the camp. Every participant gets an individual set of golf clubs. Arnold thinks golf can be a family activity that helps far beyond just one weekend.

“We’re not trying to give them four days of fun; we’re trying to give them a lifetime of it. That’s part of it, to change their lifestyle,” said Arnold.

  Campbell said he and his team would normally spend up to eight weeks on a project like this, but Campbell’s Customs was able to finish in 3.5 weeks. He said they also painted ammo cans to use as donation boxes. All the painted vehicles and ammo cans traveled with WGCA to the Georgia National Fair in Perry, where they are currently raising money until Oct. 13.

  Campbell hopes to assist Arnold and WGCA with other fundraising events going forward.  For more information on Warrior Golf Camps of America, visit www.warriorgolfcampsofamerica.org.

 

 

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