NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The Fighting Irish women’s golf program has teamed up with the Folds of Honor Military Tribute Program (FHMTP) for the 2019-20 season.
The program provides the opportunity for collegiate golf teams to honor a fallen or severely wounded American soldier by selecting a student-athlete to carry a golf bag displaying the name, rank and branch of service of the soldier being honored throughout the year. Fighting Irish senior Mia Ayer will have the honor of carrying Notre Dame’s FHMTP golf bag for the 2019-20 season, which honors the memory of Captain Reid Nishizuka ’05.
“The Folds of Honor Military Tribute Program is a tremendous opportunity for our women’s golf team to honor one of our own in Captain Reid Nishizuka, a proud Notre Dame alumnus,” head coach Susan Holt said. “Through service to our country and by paying the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our freedom, Captain Nishizuka reminds us that our freedom is in fact not free. I would like to thank Reid’s parents for allowing us to honor his memory throughout our 2019-20 season.”
“I was honored when coach chose me to carry the bag with Captain Reid Nishizuka’s name on it,” Ayer reflected. “To be able to pay tribute to not only Reid’s accomplishments in the military but the greatness of his character reminds me everyday to be thankful for the opportunities I have been given. Each of us on the team will carry a tag with his name and image, his accomplishments, a statement of his kindness, bravery and, most of all, the happiness he radiated and brought people; I hope to reflect his positivity on and off the golf course this year.”
Reid Nishizuka, a U.S. Air Force Captain, died in service to his country on April 27, 2013, near Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Reid was a recipient of 10 Air Medals, two Air Force Commendation Medals, two Air Force Achievement Medals and a Bronze Star for Heroism.
Captain Nishizuka embodied the qualities of a true hero; he was kind, brave, and trustworthy. Most of all, he was happy and he shared his happiness with everyone he met.
“I selected Mia Ayer, a senior on our team, to carry Captain Nishizuka’s bag this season,” Holt added. “In learning about Captain Nishizuka’s story, it became apparent he was a very kind and happy person who had a fun personality and enjoyed the company of others. That is Mia in a nutshell! She has the type of personality that lights up a room when she walks in. She is the perfect person to honor Reid and to share his story.”
“I think carrying the bag is a good way to remember we’re all able to pursue our educations and the sport we love because of the service of very gracious people and the sacrifices of their families,” Ayer concluded.
Throughout the season, the Notre Dame women’s golf team will also raise funds with the proceeds benefiting the Folds of Honor (FOH). The FOH, a preferred charitable partner of the Women’s Golf Coach Association (WGCA) and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA), works to ensure that no family is left behind in the fight to preserve American freedom. Through scholarships and other assistance, they give back to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country Details of Notre Dame’s fundraising efforts will be released as the season progresses.
Ayer and the Fighting Irish open the 2019-20 season on September 9 at the Minnesota Invitational in Woodbury, Minnesota at Prestwick Golf Club.
— ND —