As a member of a military family, Army Veteran Eric Schuster understands the importance of giving back.
“I’ve always had a passion to help my fellow Veteran,” Schuster said. “Coming from a family with a military tradition, tracing back to the Revolutionary War, where my father, grandfathers and uncles served, I anticipate the meaning of service. For many years, I have been involved with Veterans programs and organizations.”
PGA HOPE (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) is one of Schuster’s many efforts to support Veterans. He is a PGA HOPE Ambassador with the Central New York PGA Section. PGA Hope CNY Presenting Sponsor is Visions Federal Credit Union.
A PGA HOPE Ambassador is a volunteer position which helps foster and promote the game of golf to Veterans. Schuster, who served in the Army from 1982 to 1989, was in the inaugural class of 20 PGA HOPE Ambassadors in 2019.
“In 2019, Ryan McGinnis, PGA (Turning Stone Resort Casino) nominated me based on input from my volunteer work with the nationally recognized Veteran’s organization, Clear Path For Veterans in Chittenango,” Schuster said.
As a PGA HOPE Ambassador, Schuster is involved in the Section’s PGA HOPE program at Turning Stone that has seen tremendous growth in four years. PGA HOPE is one of three PGA REACH Central New York philanthropic pillars.
“I, along with Ryan, have been able to grow the Turning Stone program from approximately 25 golfers to over 130,” Schuster said. “Since the late fall of 2019 I have worked to promote the program with grassroot efforts and my connections in the Veteran/Military communities of CNY.”
Besides his charitable work, Schuster, an associate real estate broker, also assists Veterans and military members by providing real estate services.
Here’s what Schuster had to say about being a part of PGA HOPE and being a PGA HOPE Ambassador.
US Army (1982-1989), Rank: Sergeant; Military Occupations: Infantryman, Satellite Radio Operator, Paratrooper and Long-Range Surveillance (LRS) Operator
Associate Real Estate Broker and Productivity Coaching at Keller Williams Realty Syracuse. Provide real estate services to buyers and sellers focusing on Veterans and Military members to educate them on the benefits of using their VA Home Loan. Coach over 30 new real estate agents with the charge of getting their business up and running as quickly as possible based on real estate guidance and the training of systems and models of Keller Williams
Lifelong golf enthusiastic – I’ve been playing golf since I was 13-years-old. I grew up on the east side of Syracuse and used to take the bus to Lyndon Golf Course with my friends to play.
On being a PGA HOPE Ambassador:
After attending the 2019 Ambassador Class, known as the PGA HOPE National Golf and Wellness Week held at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD, all the Ambassadors were provided a “tool kit” of new skills focused on promoting the benefits of the game golf and impact of wellness training for Veterans and Military members. When the Ambassador returns to their home program, they have new responsibilities to help foster the game of golf through the PGA HOPE program and to grow the programming of the PGA HOPE throughout their PGA Section. All Ambassadors are volunteers and Veterans.
Most rewarding moment with PGA HOPE:
The most rewarding moment is the growing of the local program to over 130 participates. The program is still growing, not only locally, but nationally so it’s an exciting time for PGA HOPE. Moreover, I also have a great sense of satisfaction participating with my fellow Veterans in the program. That sense of camaraderie is so important for us Veterans. It gives us a purpose to keep moving forward in our lives. The PGA HOPE is a Veterans program first, then a golf program.
On growing PGA HOPE in the CNY PGA Section:
My goals are to help grow the program throughout the entire CNY PGA Section by working closely with the Section leadership and PGA Professionals. We have identified two areas of expansion: Binghamton and Watertown/Ft. Drum. Since we are at capacity with the Turning Stone PGA HOPE program the growth of the program in the Syracuse/Oswego/Utica areas is critical. Fortunately, with over 19 PGA Professional trained and certified as PGA HOPE instructors this growth is possible. I can be somewhat impatient, so the quicker we get these programs off the ground the better since it only benefits Veterans and our Military members.
What inspires you?
A challenge… My motivation is supporting my fellow Veterans.