Approximately two thirds of the Viera East Golf Association's members have served in the military, either on active duty, reserve or National Guard during war time or peace.
We have members who have flown combat missions in Vietnam and one was even shot down. However, one stands out as both a military veteran and the VEMA Golf Association 2021 Grand Champion. As a military member with multiple tours as part of the 82nd Airborne, and as a golf champion with gross scores of 72 and 75 to win, Ben Dickerson was given a plaque recognizing him as the club champion.
He won the golf championship despite back injuries, back, shoulder and knee pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. He certainly had enough to overcome, including multiple combat engagements in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan.
Dickerson was awarded the Purple Heart after an incident on Dec. 5, 2005 when he and several others were riding in a Humvee that ran over an IED, which exploded, flipping the Humvee on its side. A second-lieutenant, who was riding in the front seat, could not feel his legs to get away from the Humvee. Dickerson and a fellow soldier pulled the second-lieutenant to safety while under fire, and went to a base that was more than a mile away.
There are a lot more of these stories to tell, but the key point is how golf has helped him transition to civilian life while dealing with the mental pain and headaches from PTSD and helped keep him from abusing drugs and alcohol. We salute you during Veterans Day.