Golfers taking swing for patriotic cause at Eagles under the Oaks benefit

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COVID-19 delayed this year’s ninth annual Eagles under the Oaks Golf Benefit, but you can’t keep a goodhearted person down for long as evidenced at today’s sold out golf tournament.

This year, organizers are hoping to raise more than the $35,000 that rolled in last year to help our local veterans.

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Armed with clubs and putters, golfers from all walks of life were swinging for a good cause Friday to help out combat wounded veterans and like any good soldier on the front lines, Eddie Loosier is determined to leave no man behind and even take one for the team. “We would have had a better game, but we have a guy named Bill Fox who just can’t play. He’s in here with us, but other than that we would be doing pretty good. You can do things like this for a lot of reasons, but for the veterans, that’s just something special.”

Eagles under the Oaks was in full swing Friday at the Oaks Golf Club in Pass Christian and there were even a few birdies under those oaks. Joe Bannister said, “I was 19 years old in Vietnam and in the Marine Corps. I got two purple hearts. Everything they do with the benefits from this tournament, for the people who get the benefits, it’s absolutely outstanding.  It’s wonderful they do this. I love this tournament, love it. (Even though you tell me your wife is beating you.) Hey, she’s a good golfer. I call her Down the Middle Kathy. She hits it down the middle Kathy. She hits it down the middle every time.”

But there’s no middle ground for the Wounded Combat Veterans of South Mississippi, a nonprofit that’s had to roll with the changes due to COVID this year as they continue to bridge the gaps for local veterans. Wounded Combat Veterans of South Mississippi Founder Donna Anderson said, “We’ve had to really improvise this year and be really innovative with getting computers so they learned how to e-file.  We can’t do a lot of stuff in person. We’ve been out in our cars, going out, helping pay bills, whether it’s agencies in our areas that we can go and pay bills, such as phone bills, for them, so that way they can keep in communication with the V.A. and with their medical care.”

Congressman Steven Palazzo said, “They’re making a reality to take care of all our veterans. What better day to do it, on 9/11, to not only celebrate our veterans’ service, but to also thank people for stepping up and taking care of our veterans.”

Regardless of the final score, all these players are champions in the eyes of those who have sacrificed so much to secure the freedoms we still enjoy today.

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Toni started at WXXV News 25 in December of 2013, just three months after the news was launched. She has served as Assignment Editor, anchored for nearly two years, worked as a reporter for several years and hosted Coastal Connections for more than four years. Toni graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was editor of the Student Printz. She then did an internship on Capitol Hill, working for a U.S. Senator, then returned to Mississippi as a reporter at WDAM in Hattiesburg. After that, she moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working as a reporter for FOX 25 in Biloxi, then crossing city lines to work at WLOX-TV news in Biloxi, starting out as a producer, then working as a photographer, reporter, weekend assignment editor and weekend anchor. She was among the station team that won the Edward Murrow and Peabody awards for coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Toni moved to the Lone Star State where she worked as the morning and noon anchor, investigative reporter and live shot reporter for KZTV Action 10 News, then KRIS TV News in Corpus Christi, Texas. Toni moved back to the Magnolia State to be with and take care of her family, working as a multi-media journalist and fill-in anchor at WDBD Fox 40 news in Jackson. After almost completing a second degree in filmmaking at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Toni transitioned back to news at News 25. Toni is blessed to have a wonderful support network of close family, friends and mentors, and she hopes to pay it forward. She has a three-legged chiweenie named Rocky Balboa because of his fighting spirit. She loves writing and has completed a novel that has been adapted into a screenplay, and has just finished another screenplay called "Delta Rose." She's currently working on a new legal thriller called "Fall From Grace." Stay tuned.... If you’d like to book a live in studio interview on News 25 Today, just email: tmiles@wxxv25.com. These interviews can have up to two guests, last about two minutes and showcase community events, non-profit organizations and things of interest to people in our area…and they’re FREE! Just send information about your event, including date, time, location, contact number and/or website for viewers wanting more information, along with the proper name and titles of the person or two people who will be interviewed, and Toni or producer Porsha Williams (pwilliams@wxxv25.com) will get back with you via email in a timely manner to book a date. Typical interview times are daily at: 5:45, 6:45, 7:45 or 8:45 am. Guests are asked to arrive about 30 minutes beforehand. You can also ask about booking a live shot on location for news events for our 6 and 7 am newscasts. We look forwarding to having you!

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