Palm Desert neighbors host Military Appreciation Day for local Marines

POSTED: 06:26 PM PDT Mar 24, 2013    UPDATED: 07:33 AM PDT Mar 25, 2013 
Ironwood Country Club Military Appreciation Day
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

The brave men and women who serve our country were honored with a day of appreciation on Sunday. Neighbors at the Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert welcomed more than 60 service members from the Twentynine Palms Marine base for lunch and some tee-time.

"It's an honor to serve with such great men and women, and to be thanked makes it much more special," said Capt. J.R. Valasek.

Capt. Marc Shelton served two tours in Iraq, another in Afghanistan and received a Purple Heart when he was combat wounded in 2008. For him, the greatest gift of all was spending the day and learning a thing or two from the vets.

"Being able to shake the hands of those who have gone before us, absolutely awesome!" he said.

The Marines say fighting for their country comes second nature.

"We do it because we want to and it's a true honor to represent our nation."

However, it comes at a cost.
     
"They undergo vigorous training and put themselves at risk on the battlefield," said John Howarth, a veteran and resident at Ironwood Country Club.
    
It's a risk that cost 20-year-old PFC Casey Holmes his life. Authorities continue to investigate the death of the Northern California marine who died during a training exercise at the Twentynine Palms base two weeks ago.

"When we lose a marine, it's very touching to get through. You just make sure that the men and women before you, you've got to honor them," said Valasek.

The event also raised money for the brave guests of honor as they took in the day to let loose and work on their golf swing.