GONZALES — Charlie Carmouche didn’t know that attending a convention in Orlando, Fla., last year would have such a profound impact.
He and his brothers, Pete and James, who operate Carmouche Insurance Inc., of Gonzales, met an individual who would change their future.
The brothers were in Orlando for insurance training, and they caught up with their cousins at the Florida Association of Insurance Agents’ annual convention.
They were introduced to Maj. Ed Pulido, the vice president of the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides scholarships and assistance to families of soldiers who were wounded or killed in action.
The association was hosting a golf tournament to benefit Pulido’s organization, and the Carmouches decided they wanted to do something similar in Louisiana.
“We found out what Major Ed was doing and what his organization was all about,” Carmouche said. “We kind of committed right there.”
Within a week, they set a date and picked out a location for the tournament. On Nov. 16, 84 players participated in the first of what Carmouche said would become an annual golf tournament at Pelican Point Golf Club and helped raise nearly $25,000 for the Folds of Honor and Warriors for Freedom foundations.
Warriors for Freedom, which was founded by Pulido, is dedicated to improving the lives of the nation’s military members and their families.
Carmouche credited Pulido, Warriors for Freedom President Brett Dick and Frank Gumpert, the director of membership and sales at The University Club in Baton Rouge, which also hosts a benefit golf tournament for the Folds of Honor Foundation, for making the tournament successful.
“Any time you do something like this,” Carmouche said, “you never know how it’s going to turn out. ... It definitely turned out to be a lot better than what we thought it would be.”
It was such a successful tournament that the date for next year’s event already has been set — April 8. He said he’s hoping to get a committee of about 12 people to help take the tournament to the next level, and he already has about seven or eight committed.
“We’d like to grow this thing as big as possible,” Carmouche said.
In addition to supporting a project he truly believes in, Carmouche said that hosting the golf tournament had an added benefit. His family and other key participants were recognized before more than 90,000 people at the 50-yard line at Tiger Stadium during halftime of LSU’s win over Ole Miss on Nov. 17.
“We were standing on the eye of the tiger, which was unbelievable,” said Carmouche, an LSU alumnus. “I’d never been on the field, ever. It was cool, man. I always wanted to. I just never had any way to do it.”
While the first tournament was a rousing success, Carmouche said he hopes to build it into something bigger that can touch the lives of people who do so much for his country.
“This is just something that kind of hits home for us,” he said. “We’re big supporters of the military, especially seeing these guys who have done what they did — injured or lost a limb in war — or even families who lost a spouse or dad. It’s something that touches us. We want to help out any way we can.”