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Combat veterans offer military precision at John Deere Classic clean-up

SILVIS, Illinois - Just hours after the John Deere Classic ends, the tough work begins.  That's when volunteers step into action to clear the massive set-up.

At one assignment in the TPC at Deere Run  parking lot, it takes quite a skill set to pull it off: moving a 3,000 pound scoreboard that's worth $500,000.

It's a task they'll repeat 11 times, with the help of a crane,  during this sunny morning.

For Mark Kuster, 52, serving two decades in the Navy shows how military skills can make this tough job easier to accomplish.

"You've got to be paying attention," he said on Monday, July 17.  "If one person is missing from the group, someone who's a little more familiar needs to slide up into place."

These volunteers are "recruits" from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.  They've all served their country on dangerous deployments.  For this assignment, stepping up for the community.

To learn more about their organization, check http://www.Combatvet.org .  The Rock Island branch also has a Facebook page.

Longtime JDC "grunt" Roger Preslar, an Army veteran, came up with the idea to invite them to participate.

"They're all quality guys," Preslar said.  "They were interested in coming out and donating the back-breaking labor, so here we are."

On a day when it's all about teamwork, experience from their military service really makes a difference.

Tom Root, who serves as police chief in Princeton, Illinois, knows all about it.  His military career spanned 33 years, from Vietnam to Iraq.

"Like in the military, we call it a mission," he said.  "You have a mission, and you need to accomplish it."

After dangerous duties all over the world, their brotherhood lives on at the John Deere Classic.

Brian Heritage, 33, has deployed three times over 16 years in the Army Reserves.

On Monday, he joined his military brothers as they loaded the huge scoreboards into semi-trailers.

"You come back to find other people that had the same experiences," he said.  "They're willing to share that brotherhood again."

As they slide a massive scoreboard into place, it's clear this is more than a volunteer assignment.

"There's camaraderie, esprit de corps, something we found in the military," Kuster concluded.  "That's why I enjoy coming here to do volunteer work."

Real-life heroes who continue to serve on another winning volunteer team at the John Deere Classic.