Doing good with what we have when we can is a staple of the culture at Quicken Loans. Whether we’re out cleaning up our community or volunteering our time elsewhere, we’re always finding ways to help others. It doesn’t just start and stop with each other. Because we have a caring and supportive work environment, we want to make sure we pay it forward to the clients we work with every day. One of the ways we do this is through events and opportunities like the Quicken Loans National golf tournament and the Honor Tour that we planned for a group of very special military veteran clients.
The Quicken Loans National
The Quicken Loans National is a premier PGA Tour tournament that invites 120 of the nation’s top golf professionals to compete for the Quicken Loans National title. All proceeds from the event benefit the college access programs of the Tiger Woods Foundation. However, honoring the men and women of the armed forces has been at the forefront of the Quicken Loans National since it began in 2007.
This year, we’ve continued our tradition of extending an invitation to our clients located near the TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Potomac, Md., where the Quicken Loans National takes place. As in years past, the clients received two tickets to the tournament, along with access to our Rocket Mortgage MadHouse – a comfortable climate-controlled chalet located on the 17 th green.
“It was hard to believe they’d just send me this out of the blue. I haven’t had this kind of experience with anyone I’ve worked with, let alone my mortgage company,” said Rick, one of our clients who was not only a veteran but an avid golfer as well. “I’m having a heck of a time.”
Once the clients arrived at the tournament, they could stop by the MadHouse to pick up a cool swag bag filled with Quicken Loans National hats, golf balls, sunscreen and more. “This is really above and beyond anything I could have expected. It’s pretty great,” another client said as she was picking up a swag bag to take home to her son.
Honoring Military Veterans at the National
The Quicken Loans National is about more than just golf. Honoring the men and women of the armed forces has been an integral part of the Quicken Loans National since it began in 2007. Every year, we look for ways to raise the bar for military appreciation initiatives at the tournament. This year’s event featured 18 service members, representing the Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and National Guard. But besides having service members on hand as caddies, starters and announcers, one of the ways we honor the armed forces is through the Military Heroes Wall. We invited all the guests to come and sign the wall, leaving a message of appreciation for all service members, whether they’re veterans or on active duty. This year, we had everyone sign the wall in red. Why red? Because Navy veteran and 2016 Quicken Loans National champion Billy Hurley III is a proud supporter of the RED (Remember Everyone Deployed) movement. In support of RED, you’re encouraged to wear red on Fridays as a subtle way to let people know that there are still hundreds of men and women who are away from their families, defending our country, and to let our service members know we haven’t forgotten them and that we appreciate their sacrifice.
One of the most effective ways we show our support for the men and women of the armed forces at this event is through our Shot for Heroes charity event . Fans and pros alike will be able to take a swing to raise money for military charities. In the three years since we’ve started the Shot for Heroes event, we’ve managed to raise more than $750,000 for military charities.
Honor Tour, Day 1: The Arrival
One of the biggest ways that we paid it forward this year is by extending the trip to the Quicken Loans National for a select group of our clients so they could participate in an Honor Tour. We invited a group of military veteran clients to join us for a weekend of golf and sun as well as a tour of some of our nation’s most inspiring monuments in Washington, D.C.
This event was important to us because it gave us the opportunity to go one step further in our commitment to supporting service members, veterans and their families. We wanted to make sure we could honor the service of our clients while simultaneously thanking them for choosing Quicken Loans.
On Thursday, June 29, our clients arrived at the Ritz-Carlton – Tysons Corner, located in McLean, Va., just a short distance from the TPC Potomac. It was the first time we got to meet them in person. Our team helped them get comfortable for the day, and we met back up that evening for a getting-to-know-you dinner.
We bonded over drinks and shared our stories. It was there that we found out that our client Chuck was a World War II Navy veteran with a host of stories about his experiences. We learned that David, another Navy vet, was an avid biker with a love for Harleys. Our Air Force veteran, Bill, regaled us with stories about working for the government.
At one point during the dinner, David proposed a toast. “To our dear companions, friends and family. We’ve been brought together for this event by our friends at Quicken Loans. They’ve done such a fantastic job at everything by creating this wonderful event to remember us by,” he said and paused. As we took our drinks, he added with a chuckle, “It’s been a long time since somebody’s made me feel so good about paying off my mortgage.”
Bill added, “I’ve worked with other mortgage companies, but we chose Quicken Loans because they actually service the loan and they take care of us. Other lenders try all the time to convince us to switch for whatever reasons, but we are completely committed to Quicken Loans. Because of their service, and because they take care of us.”
Honor Tour, Day 2: The Quicken Loans National
The following day was our day at the Quicken Loans National. Even though it was hot outside, the Rocket Mortgage MadHouse was nice and cool. Our clients had the option to spend the whole day at the event or even just a couple of hours if they decided, although most chose to spend a great deal of time hanging out and enjoying the event.
That night was a free night, because the big day was on Saturday – when we took our clients out for the Honor Tour.
Honor Tour, Day 3: The Tour
Bright and early Saturday morning, as we boarded our shuttle, David turned to me and mentioned how excited he was for the day. “I can’t believe you’d do this. I keep looking for the fine print! Is it in my mortgage clause?” he asked, laughing.
Our tour guide, Tom, from DC Military Tours , kicked off the tour with a few brief instructions, and on to Arlington National Cemetery we went. We stopped to see some of the more memorable locations in the cemetery: John F. Kennedy’s grave site, the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and Arlington House (also known as the Custis-Lee Mansion). And even though it was extremely hot, everyone was in the best of spirits. We were all honored to be able to visit such a historical and monumental site together. Chuck’s stories, combined with Tom’s vast knowledge of history, made the tour especially robust.
After our brief but history-filled tour, we made our way to the Army Navy Country Club for a delicious lunch and a brief reprieve from the oppressive heat. Tom entertained us with stories about the history of the club and helped answer the questions we had about what we saw in the cemetery. Even Chuck learned a thing or two!
Right after lunch, we hopped aboard our shuttle and headed to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, where we had an appointment to meet with Staff Sergeant French at the Caisson Platoon stables. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is home to the 3 rd United States Infantry Regiment , which is more readily recognized by its nickname, The Old Guard.
The Old Guard serves special roles within the Army, including acting as sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknowns and serving as members of the U.S. Army Caisson Platoon, which provides horses and riders to pull the caisson at military and state funerals. They also provide riderless horses, who are used in full honors funerals, and support wounded warriors with a therapeutic riding program.
The tour began with a brief introduction to what the Caisson Platoon is for, and then we were quickly introduced to some of the beautiful horses who make up the unit. SSG French walked us through the origins of the unit and introduced us to the horses who were feeling up to socializing that afternoon. We were all struck by how hard these soldiers work, reporting for duty at 4:00 a.m. to begin cleaning, grooming, polishing, fixing and performing all sorts of other chores before they begin working for the day.
We learned about Black Jack, the horse who carried John F. Kennedy’s body to Arlington, and how his spirited personality helped save the Caisson Platoon from a potential shut down. He’s also the second horse in history to be buried with full military honors.
Near the end of our tour, SSG French took a moment to thank our veterans for their service and for their presence at the stables that day. He spent an extra minute recognizing Chuck for his service in World War II. Few of the brave service members who served in World War II are still with us today, so it’s always an incredible honor to spend time with one of them. As we were leaving, SSG French and other platoon leaders, as a token of respect, gifted Chuck with a horseshoe from one of their most revered horses, who had just passed away the week prior. It was a touching and special event that we were all grateful to witness.
We couldn’t imagine the day getting any better than this. But we had one more stop – the memorials at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The day had run a bit long, and it was getting extremely hot, so we condensed some of our stops into one. We took a brief moment to admire the majesty of the Lincoln Memorial.
Together, we went to the World War II memorial while Tom explained the nuances of this beautiful tribute to our nation’s greatest generation. The monument consists of 56 pillars (28 on each side of a fountain), with a pair of small arches representing each theater of the war – the Pacific and the Atlantic.
Chuck was visibly moved at points, which made visiting this as our last stop of the tour that much more poignant. I asked his daughter and granddaughter (who joined him on the trip) if there was anything I could do, and Chuck piped up with his lovely sense of humor, saying, “Can you turn down the heat a little?”
We headed back to the hotel shortly thereafter. It had been long day, but everyone told us how much this trip meant to them.
“I haven’t had a vacation in 17 years,” Chuck told us. “When you called me, I said, ‘I don’t believe it!’ I had to call a couple people to make sure, because people just don’t take care of you like this anymore.”
It’s people like Chuck, David and Bill – and the countless other clients we work with every day – who make doing what we do worthwhile. We have such good fortune to be the best at what we do and want to always remember to pay our blessings forward to others whenever we can.
The post Veterans Honored with Trip to D.C. and the Quicken Loans National appeared first on ZING Blog by Quicken Loans .