Golf Balls in the Danger Zone


Im all about helping you. Im a Solution Guy.
So heres the solution next time you get perturbed at a perfectly struck 9-iron shot that still fails to clear that satanic pit of bunker in front of the green, the next time you pull a four-footer and have to chew on bogey, the next time you find your ball two inches to the bad side of those crucial white stakes.
Imagine someone with real problems. Such as being 7,000 miles from home and family ' and no miles from possible harm.
David and Todd in Fallujah
Capt. David Sifferd, an Army chaplain (left), and one of his soldiers in Iraq, where used golf balls could help ease combat stress.
And as if that werent enough, there arent enough golf balls.
I just asked [my wife] Paula to send me more white socks, so I should be good there, said Capt. David W. Sifferd, Chaplain, U.S. Army, in response to my recent query as to whether he needs anything at his posting in Iraq. I can really get most everything I need here, David said, except for golf balls. If you run across any groups that might want to donate old used golf balls, could you send me the address. I have a few clubs in my office that I let soldiers use to hit balls into the field behind our headquarters. Problem is that they are usually irretrievable. Great stress relief, though!
From the time nearly 30 years ago when I used to pick him up at 7:30 a.m. to walk to school, David Sifferd has been all about stress relief ' or whatever else his fellow man needed. The oldest of four children, Dave got a lot of responsibility in the Sifferd family, as close and faithful a group as youre ever likely to find. Dave and I were of different faiths, but he and his family always made me feel welcome. And on those cold mornings, when I walked down from 661 Ridgefield to 624 Ridgefield, there David would be, obviously having just finished helping to get the younger kids ready for school, with a bacon-and-egg sandwich on white toast wrapped in a paper towel, ready to head off with me to Mt. Lebanon High.
We sang together in choir and small ensembles. We hung out together. Circumstances and preference kept Dave from seeking coolness in the conventional high school way. Some who didnt know him sized up his quiet manner, his last-years coat, his decidedly not-up-to-clique-standard dress and decided he wasnt worth their notice. Dave knew it, too. But if he had a complaint, none of us ever heard it. I never saw him pass a petulant remark or succumb to gossip. I never saw a moment when he lost his sense of humor. Most important, I never saw a second when he was self-centered.
It surprised none of Daves friends when he attended Eastern Nazarene College and pursued the ministry. We were even less surprised when he married a wonderful girl and built a loving family with her. And it was right in character when Dave, an Army reservist, answered his countrys call without a cry. He shipped out to Iraq earlier this year.
So do I know any groups who have golf balls? You bet I do. Its you. You have them, in the garage, in onion bags, in shag bags, golf bags and garbage bags. Want to help a guy whos always helping others? Put those balls in a box and send them to this address:
CH (CPT) David Sifferd
APO AE 09342

And for those of you looking to make a bigger splash in the sand, consider another item on Capt. Sifferds wish list for his troops.
I'm trying to set up a putting green and a couple of tee boxes to drive from at our headquarters, Dave e-mailed me. We'll probably pour a cement slab and then put some artificial surface over it. Have you run across any golf products like portable putting greens that I should look into? Because of the climate here I'll probably need to buy something that is easy to install.
Its true, there are a number of companies that have been sending golf equipment to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And thats great. But this is a chance for individual golfers to kick in, and perhaps to get rid of those practice balls you never seem to have time for anyway. Believe me, theyll be put to good use.
This isnt about your position pro or con on the war in Iraq. Its about helping out fellow golfers who understand probably better than they ever did before, that banging a few balls can take the edge off a tough day. And these guys and girls are out on a sharp edge, where every day can be tough.
So now you can be Solution Guy or Girl. Thanks very much.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr