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D-backs hold Golf Classic to benefit military veterans

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- New D-backs reliever Heath Bell showed up Friday morning because his father was a Marine.

Pitcher Ian Kennedy was there because he appreciates the military's service.

D-backs president Derrick Hall, members of his front office and the corporate sponsors of the second annual D-backs' Celebrity Golf Classic to benefit military heroes came together at Whirlwind Golf Club because they felt it was the right thing to do.

"It's very important for us to give back to the military and show appreciation," Hall said. "The fact that they are sacrificing their lives every day for our freedom -- presently or in the past -- is admirable. We've got a great turnout and it's going to continue to build momentum, as is the case with everything we do."

Joining Bell and Kennedy as special guests in the tournament were current players Paul Goldschmidt, Jeremy Reed and Charles Brewer, along with a group of former players that included Junior Spivey. Captain Jack Ensch, the club's Military Affairs Specialist, was also a guest of honor.

"This organization gets it, and they are completely committed to it," Ensch said. "They understand everything that the military does and to give back to them makes me feel good to be a part of. To see something like this is heartwarming, and it's very encouraging to see how we are treating our veterans these days."

The day's list of events featured raffles, a silent auction, an awards ceremony and other special D-backs gifts. An exclusive performance by Roger Clyne was also on tap.

"The Diamondbacks do a very good job of remembering why we get to play this game and who sacrifices for us," Kennedy said. "We just have to remember to thank the veterans for what they do, and that's why I'm here."

Last year, the event raised almost $150,000 to help veterans through the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. Hall and company were hoping to top that amount this time around.

They also came out to have some fun.

"My golf game stinks, but I have a great time," Bell said. "I try to do everything for the Marine Corp and the Armed Services. As soon as I heard about this event, I jumped right in. I'm all for it."