The 2nd Annual Desert Challenge Golf Tournament

Tiani Jadulang

The 2nd Annual Desert Challenge Golf Tournament honoring the 13 fallen soldiers was held earlier this morning at Avondale Golf Club in Palm Desert.

The tournament helps benefit both the Folds of Honor organization and The Hunter Lopez Memorial Foundation.

The Desert Challenge Golf Tournament hosted over 150 players who helped raise funds for both organizations.

We spoke with some of the tournaments organizers on what makes this event so special.

“13 American soldiers were killed, evacuating Americans. So I wanted this tournament to never forget the 13.” says Gary Williams, one of the hosts of the tournament.

It’s more than just a golf tournament, it’s an event to honor the fallen 13, the 13 U.S. Servicemembers killed in the Kabul airport attack in 2021.

Various organizations who help the families of fallen soldiers and active service men and women help keep their memory alive here in the valley.

“Folds of Honor, which takes care of first responder and fallen soldiers families, and the Hunter Lopez Foundation that makes sure parents get to see their son or daughter graduate from the military academy.” Williams says.

One of the benefiting organizations of this tournament, Folds of Honor, is about helping the families of both fallen and wounded soldiers, and the speaker of the foundation says, it’s a great honor being apart of this event.

“The folded flag is something that is given to a family after the death of a serviceman. Folds of honor is just that. It’s honoring those that have gone before us that have passed away serving their country… and ultimately, given the ultimate sacrifice.” the speaker for Folds of Honor, Chad Moyer says.

The Hunter Lopez Foundation started with funds that were donated from people all across the country, and now those funds are put towards other military families.

“We thought that we need to pay it forward and continue to honor Hunter’s memory of helping others. So we put that money toward military families, assisting their families to attend military graduations, mainly the Marine Corps because they’re here locally in Southern California… so we have two, two Marine Corps bases nearby.” Herman Lopez, the father of CPL. Hunter Lopez says.

He mentions that many forget about the hardships that family members of servicemen go through, and that they do their best to help fill any of those military needs through their foundation.

They want to do their best to carry on their son’s legacy of helping those around him.

“The community support has been amazing. Without the community, without our close friends and family, we wouldn’t have been able to get through this and we definitely wouldn’t have been able to help others. So we are always very appreciative… and I want everybody to know that when we do things for other families, that they are in turn, they’re contributing to that, they’re part of that.” Lopez says.

Herman Lopez… along with his family are extremely thankful for all the support they have felt.

“Last year was our first tournament and this is our second. It’s grown even more than last year. But when you come on to this country club you feel the support really for first responders and for the military community.”

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