When he was asked if he was playing well, Brian Bryant paused and then smiled.
“I don’t shoot very well,” said the Owings resident, who is the general vice president at the International Association of Machinists headquarters in Upper Marlboro. “I’m out here for the cause.”
And that cause is to support U.S. military veterans at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, who will benefit from Monday’s Second Annual IAM International President’s Capital Classic Golf Tournament that was held at Breton Bay Golf and Country Club.
Despite overcast skies and light rain, more than 100 golfers from around the country took their best shots at the 3,144-yard course.
“We have many different charities and this golf tournament actually was put together by my staff for needy charities locally to the community,” said Robert Martinez Jr., who has been the international president of the International Association of Machinists for the past six years. “And Maryland being what it is and the status of the veterans at the VA, we adopted Charlotte Hall for our members who work there and for the veterans who are there at the hall.”
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers represents 600,000 active and retired members across North America, many of whom are U.S. military veterans who work in the defense, aerospace and federal sectors.
“Our union is proud to represent probably the most veterans out of any union in the AFL,” said Communications Division of the Machinists Union Jonathan Battaglia, who added there are “tens of thousands” of veterans among its members. “Our veterans help support the military and work on military bases across the country and they build planes, ships, submarines and fighter jets, so this is a perfect cause to assist.”
“The point is that the majority, I would say more than any other union in the AFLCIO or organized labor anywhere, we have more veterans in our ranks because of the types of work that we do,” Martinez said. “Usually a veteran will come straight from the military straight to one of our shops.”
The tournament raised $97,000 but the total is expected to nudge past $100,000 with the sale of sports memorabilia.
“I think all of our membership is proud of this event and the proceeds that we raised,” Martinez Jr. said, “and I look forward to presenting that on behalf of the organization.”
Three teams each finished the captain’s choice format with scores of 56 and tie-breakers were determined by scores on the most difficult handicap holes.
Hasan Solomon, Loren Almeroth, Rick de la Fuente and Alex Zakrzeski ended up as the winners of the tournament followed by the foursome of Joey Hoffman, Scott Herbert and Mike and Tim Deavers. Third place went to Jon Legge, Eric Barger and Ken and Andrew Schofield.
Two strokes back in fourth place was the team of Mark Blondin, Jason Granger and Jody and Cory Bennett.
Battaglia, Martinez Jr., Special Assistant to the International President Rich Johansen and Director of Organizing Vinny Addeo placed fifth with a score of 59.
And while it was nice to head home with a trophy or medal and some swag, the real winner was the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home.
Martinez Jr., who is retired from the U.S. Navy, said he knows how much the proceeds mean.
“It’s profound,” he said. “Our veterans are our true heroes and they have many different issues and we’re just doing what we can to help. Besides all of the things we currently do for veterans in our organization we wanted to do something for this event that is broad. We want to give back to the community and give back to the veterans as a whole for their good and welfare.”
Battaglia said the IAM is currently enhancing its veterans programs, including training staff to help its veterans file VA claims, which he said “can be a tough process with all the bureaucracy.”