Why We Started

Michael Lippencott

Have you ever experienced a chain of events that seems too much of a coincidence? That is exactly what happened to my husband and yours truly during the Christmas season of 2018. 

It all began when we met 1st Sgt. Michael Lippencott on December 3rd at the NMCRS (Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society) office at NAS (Naval Air Station) in Jacksonville, Florida. At the time, he was an active-duty member of the Marine Corps and a father of four going through a divorce.

Intending to alleviate his stress from the holiday shopping, we gave him a monetary donation from our company staff. Then, we chatted for over an hour and learned that he joined the Marine Corps in 1996 in Chantilly, VA. Since then, he completed seven tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan operations in Iraq Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and New Dawn.

We also realized that the wounds of his sacrifice to defend our nation’s freedom were not only the ones he bared on his body but also the ones on his soul. Michael retired that following June after almost 23 years of service. 

One year later, on Christmas 2019, three more military veterans–two Navy and one Marine–who were going through emotional and financial hardship landed at our doorstep. Once again, we helped them get jobs and other financial assistance.

After these extraordinary events, my husband and I realized God was giving us a mission. Therefore, we decided to incorporate The Zellner Foundation for Military Vets in January 2020. 

Initially, we wanted to help veterans to find jobs, but the Covid-19 pandemic derailed our launching plans. So by August 2020, when everything seemed dead in the water, we organized our first charity golf tournament. Against all odds, eighty players joined us on October 9th to celebrate our warriors at The Golf Club at South Hampton.

Among the attendees were more than twenty military veterans from different war eras who gave us a new mission: to share the love of golf with veterans looking for an additional outlet to deal with their combat disabilities or PTSD struggles.

Following the words of The King, Arnold Palmer: “Thank God for the game of golf,” we believe there is something exceptional about this game. The healing power of green fairways, fresh air, and good company has become a one-of-a-kind therapeutic with no side effects. 

If you would like to donate golf gear (iron sets, putters, or drivers) in good condition, please email zellnerfoundation@gmail.com 

If you prefer to make a monetary donation, click here.

Thank you,

Xiomara Spadafora

President and Co-Founder 

The Zellner Foundation for Military Vets is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

%d bloggers like this: