Northern California PGA Foundation graduates 100-year-old Navy veteran from HOPE program | SierraSun.com

Northern California PGA Foundation graduates 100-year-old Navy veteran from HOPE program

Special to the Sierra Sun

The Northern California PGA Foundation recently announced that 100-year-old Stephen Layton, a U.S. Navy veteran from South Lake Tahoe, has become the oldest graduate of PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), a national program that introduces golf to military veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being.

Today, as golf has become a therapeutic part of the rehabilitation process for many veterans living with disabilities, PGA HOPE has helped thousands assimilate back into their communities through the social interaction the game of golf provides. Led by PGA professionals, PGA HOPE programs are currently being offered at more than 90 locations in the U.S. today, positively impacting more than 2,000 veterans annually.

Born in Highlands, New Jersey, Layton was a Gunner in the U.S. Navy and fought in the battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, where he was injured by a bomb explosion that earned him a Purple Heart.

After serving in the Navy, Layton spent his career as a switchman for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Today, he resides at the Community Living Center, a part of the Palo Alto Veterans Healthcare System. As a member of the PGA HOPE program, Layton and fellow veterans were transported to Pleasanton Golf Center for weekly PGA HOPE clinics throughout May and June. Following his graduation from the program, Layton became the oldest living PGA HOPE graduate.

PGA HOPE has helped thousands assimilate back into their communities through the social interaction the game of golf provides.

“The Northern California PGA Foundation is extremely proud of all our Veterans who participate in the PGA HOPE program, as they are America’s heroes and deserve our support and dedication,” said Northern California PGA Foundation Executive Director Nancy Maul. “Our program in Northern California is one of the largest in the country and to have Stephen Layton, a 100-year old U.S. Navy Veteran, graduate from the program, speaks volumes to the commitment of our PGA Professionals who give back to the deserving men and women of the military.”

The Northern California PGA Foundation is home to one of the most prolific PGA HOPE programs with nine locations positively impacting more than 600 Veterans annually. The program, which is fully funded by the foundation, features six- to eight-week instructional golf clinics, followed by a graduation, on-course golfing opportunities, and is offered at no cost for military veterans.