LARKSPUR, Colo. — Kevin Wallace is not your typical golfer. Actually he’s not a golfer at all. He’s a veteran who was honored at the Bear Dance Golf Course in Larkspur.

He was a a special guest to the PGA Reach Program.

“The PGA Reach is remarkable here in Colorado and nationally,” Wallace said. “Internationally, PGA is a powerful, powerful organization. And for them to give me this opportunity is amazing.”

PGA Reach partners with Military Warriors Support Foundation to provide a mortgage-free home to a veteran. Wallace is one of those vets.

Wallace received the home in 2020, but is still ecstatic.

This annual golf tournament raises proceeds to sponsor a hero, so they can receive three years of family and financial mentorship to help transition from military to civilian life. They estimate the cost of that transition at around $35,000 a year.

The PGA Reach has raised $100,000 this year. Their hero is Kevin Wallace.

“It’s hard to put words on it. It’s taken me from a period in my life where I wasn’t sure what would define my next chapter. And this has enabled me to focus on art therapy and things and be credentialed to do that. So then I could help other people use art and creativity to overcome their own demons and trauma and PTSD.”

After his service, Wallace opened his own business, The Creative Spot, in North Carolina – offering a free creative outlet for anyone, but particularly veterans.

“Traditional therapy wasn’t working for me. Medicine was just sort of removing my personality. And I found in art and creativity and actually poetry resonated well with me. It resonated with something in my mind, a dark place that I couldn’t tap into where I didn’t want to and allowed me to express myself in a way that I didn’t need to do that verbally and explain myself to people,” Wallace admitted.

Wallace discovered creative outlets were more effective for him, and he wanted to share that with other veterans. “I could just put paint on canvas or express myself in a way that was very powerful to me and I thought other people could benefit. So now I want to use that to help other people.”

Wallace has been to dark places during his 20 years of service. During his two decades in the Air Force, he deployed to every continent except Antarctica, fulfilling missions on three combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of those combat tours was in Afghanistan in 2011. Wallace was flanked with nearly a dozen soldiers from Fort Carson. Some lost their lives that day – a day he looks back on for perspective.

“So without question, that was the worst day of my life and worst day for several other people,” Wallace reflected. “So for me, any time I’m having bad day or just having trouble dealing with whatever stresses me out the day before I internalize on myself or take it out on other people, I will listen to that audio clip and it grounds me and reminds me of what a real a bad day really is.”

Wallace was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with valor for his heroic action during the enemy ambush, but he’s most proud of the work he’s doing now. He said he’s putting his Masters Degree in Photography and Doctorate in Communication he earned after his retirement to excellent use.

“I will serve until the day I die. To me, there’s been so many people who have given me so much and I will spend the rest of my life giving back. For me, that’s going to manifest itself in therapy for other traumatized people.”

And that is a winning approach on any course.