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Annual Patriots’ Luncheon honors Vietnam POW and South Lake Tahoe’s fallen soldier

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medals_air_force_cross_100x200-6375563-2818182PATRIOTS LUNCHEON NEWS RELEASE – The 4th Annual Patriots’ Luncheon, presented by GE and Wells Fargo Bank will take place on Tuesday, July 30, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Montrêux Golf & Country Club. The event, which began in 2010 as part of the tournament’s “Salute to Troops” mission, features special guest speaker Air Force Col. Thomas H. Kirk (Ret.), former prisoner of war and Vice Commander of All Special Forces in Europe. The Patriots’ Luncheon will also feature a dedication to the family of fallen Army Sgt. Timothy M.Smith by the American Fallen Soldiers Project (AFSP). Military personnel will be seated at each table and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Northern Nevada Veterans Resource Center. Individual tickets can be purchased for $125 per person and tables of nine are available for $1,000 by calling 775-322-3900, with the tenth guest at the table being the military personnel.

In October 1967, while leading the largest fighter-bomber raid of the Vietnam War, Kirk’s F-105 was hit by anti-aircraft fire over Hanoi and he was forced to parachute from his plane. He was captured immediately and spent five and a half years as a POW alongside Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain. Kirk was awarded the Air Force Cross, three Silver Stars, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, nine Air Medals and the Purple Heart.

A South Lake Tahoe native, Smith died April 7, 2008 in Baghdad of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device. Smith was 25 years old. He is remembered for his smile, jokes, and love of snowboarding, four wheeling, and cooking for his wife. Smith enlisted in the Army to make the world a safer place for his adopted son, Riley. Smith was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Artist Phil Taylor of the AFSP will present a portrait of Smith to his mother, Patty.

“The Reno-Tahoe Open prides itself on the amount of support to soldiers provided through our Salute to Troops effort,” said Chris Hoff, tournament director of the Reno-Tahoe Open. “The Patriots’ Luncheon in particular allows us to honor the men and women of our military and to celebrate their lives and accomplishments.”

The 15th annual Reno-Tahoe Open at Montrêux offers complimentary tournament admission to all military including active, reserve, veterans, retirees, and dependents with proper military identification. For more information, including ticket sales, vacation packages, volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit the website, www.renotahoeopen.com, or call the tournament office.

The 15th annual Reno-Tahoe Open at Montrêux, an official PGA TOUR event, takes place July 29-August 4, 2013, at Montrêux Golf & Country Club in Reno, Nev. The tournament is one of just 45 full-field stops during the PGA TOUR Season and is part of the FedExCup series, a points competition for PGA TOUR professionals. The internationally-televised event brings in millions of dollars in coverage for the Reno-Tahoe region through its affiliation with The Golf Channel as it follows 132 PGA TOUR professionals competing for a share of the tournament’s $3 million purse. The Reno-Tahoe Open is managed and operated by the Reno-Tahoe Open Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, comprised of key sponsors including the Eldorado Hotel Reno, Montrêux Development Group and NV Energy.

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