Having served more than 30 years in the French army, Philipe Derathe has seen his share of pain – and the ultimate sacrifice.
He’s out of the military now and happy to be living in Tampa, but he hasn’t forgotten the pain that those who serve. Today, the Tampa resident is a committee member of the local chapter of the Birdies For the Brave, an organization that raises money for wounded veterans of foreign wars.
Birdies for the Brave is the PGA Tour’s primary vehicle for supporting the men and women of the armed forces and their families, especially those who have been wounded and might need a little financial help.
The PGA Tour has been cooperating with Birdies for the Brave since 2005 and has raised millions of dollars for wounded veterans and their families. This year the organization is hoping to raise more than $3 million in the Tampa Bay area.
Derathe said it is vital that the community come out and support the event, either by participating in the annual tournament at TPC Tampa Bay on Feb. 17, or the Valentine’s Bash in downtown Tampa at the Pepin Hospitality Center on Feb. 15 from 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Tickets are on sale on the group’s website for $50 per civilian couple, $35 for military couples, or one individual. Tickets include food from several of Tampa’s most well-known restaurants, live music, and open bars.
“Why I am volunteering is that I was in the French army and saw so much,” Derathe said. “It is all about raising money for wounded soldiers. So many young Americans need to give back to their kids and their families and it is up to us to help them out.”
Birdies for the Brave has raised a lot of money for the needy veterans, but Derathe said this year they have bigger goals.
“We are trying to raise the bar,” he said. “It is a no-brainer. It is all you can eat, all you can drink with an open bar, and great golf at one of the best courses in America.”
The Birdies for the Brave Tampa organization is the second largest in America.
“Our organization understands the needs,” Derathe said. “They have been through enough so, if this makes them happy, it is all worth it.’’