Support on their return

COSTA MESA — Although it's been more than 40 years since Fred Arnold came back from Vietnam, when he heard about the death of 10 Marine reservists from a small town in Iowa, he wanted to help.

"When a Marine loses a fellow Marine, it's traumatic, because we consider ourselves a brotherhood," he said.

That was six years ago. Arnold, a Costa Mesa resident, vowed to stand beside those who sacrifice everything for their country, so he staged the first Injured Marine Golf Benefit.

Fast forward to 2010. The annual benefit has raised $200,000 for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, which goes toward helping families of injured Marines and helping veterans re-enter civilian life.

The fund picks up where the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs have left off, said Arnold, who directs the tournament.

On Monday, the sixth annual Injured Marine Golf Benefit will place at the Costa Mesa Country Club.

In light of the ailing economy, Arnold is expecting to raise about $30,000 — less than last year's $42,000.

"Our goal is to spread the word to the community that our wounded warriors have paid a price for freedom," Arnold said. "It's our responsibility, and our duty, to stand behind them and to make them feel welcomed back into our community, and that we will always stand behind them and we will never forget them.

"We will always be there to help our fellow Americans, who paid a tremendous price for freedom, not just our freedom … freedom around the world."

The golf tournament will feature 36 teams and 144 golfers. The teams will include an active duty group, a Marine team and a sponsored wounded warriors team. A silent auction, raffle, live band, dinner and dance will follow at the American Legion Post 291.

"This is not something nice to do; this is our duty, this is our responsibility," Arnold said. "We're not going to let happen to them what happened when we came home (after Vietnam). It was a whole different story."

If You Go

What: Injured Marine Golf Benefit

When: Tournament: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, dinner and dance: 5 to 9 p.m. Monday

Where: Tournament: Costa Mesa Country Club, 1701 Golf Course Drive, Costa Mesa, dinner and dance: American Legion Post 291, 215 East 15th St., Newport Beach

How to Help: Send a check payable to the Injured Marine Golf Benefit to P.O. Box 1221, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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