Executive Director - Bob Buck - Bethlehem, PA

Bob Buck has been a below knee amputee for the past forty-three years.  A graduate of the Choate School, Wallingford, CT in 1960, Bob attended the University of North Carolina for 2 years before going into the US Army in 1963. He was stationed in Fort Devens, MA, Sinop, Turkey, Fort Eustis, VA & Saigon, Vietnam prior to his honorable discharge in 1966. Bob completed his college education at Transylvania University, Lexington, KY (Bus Admin – 1968) and began his career with Bethlehem Steel Corporation. In early 1969, Bob had an automobile accident breaking both tibia and fibula and was on crutches for a year trying to save his right leg. Finally in April 1970, after over a year’s battle with osteomyelitis, Bob made the decision to have his leg amputated. Turned out to be the right decision! During his career with Bethlehem Steel, Bob worked in the St Louis, Kansas City, Bethlehem and Philadelphia Sales Offices. Bob retired (2002) after 33 years with Bethlehem Steel as a Senior Account Manager in Field Sales.

     Bob is a former Eastern Trustee of the National Amputee Golf Association (NAGA) and is the Founder (1986), past President & current Executive Director of the Eastern Amputee Golf Association (EAGA).  The Association conducts amputee golf tournaments and outings, provides College Scholarships to amputee students and children of amputee members as well as conducts the NAGA’s “First Swing / Learn to Golf” clinics for rehab and golf professionals and individuals with disabilities and their families.  In 1994, Bob was given an “Honorable Mention” Award during National Rehabilitation Week for the work he and the EAGA do to benefit the amputee and disabled community.

     In 1997, Bob tied for second at the 50th National Amputee Golf Championship shooting (74-76-77).  In 2005 at Bethpage State Park, Bob finished in 7th Place at the National Championship (76-79-81).  Bob has won 24 EAGA Championships including four Pennsylvania Amputee Championships and three Eastern Regional Amputee Championships. Most recently, Bob won the 2011 Mason-Dixon Amputee Golf Classic in Hanover, PA. Bob served for five years (1995-2000) as the Consumer Representative on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).  In 2000, Bob served as the Chairman of the Disability Access Committee for the U.S. Senior Open Golf Championship at Saucon Valley CC in Bethlehem, PA. The committee provided free scooters and shuttle service for disabled spectators.  The 2000 Senior Open became the first USGA golf tournament to provide wheelchair/scooter viewing in the bleachers.   The 2009 USGA Women’s Open was held at Saucon Valley CC and Bob was again honored to serve as Chairman of the Disabled Services Committee.

     Bob has been recognized for his leadership and vision for helping start the National Amputee Golf Association’s “First Swing/Learn to Golf” Seminar & Clinic program for Rehab & Golf professionals and the Disabled Community.  Good Shepherd Rehab Hospital, Allentown, PA was the site of the initial program 27 years ago. Hospital CEO Sally Gammon presented a recognition award at their Annual Celebrity Golf Classic Dinner.  To date, Bob has conducted over 385 “First Swing” Clinics, including programs with Disabled Sports USA & the Wounded Warrior Project for our wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well as with the Philadelphia VA & Lyons VA Hospitals and its disabled veterans.

    In 1998, Bob was honored with his induction into Transylvania University’s Pioneer “Hall of Fame” in Lexington, KY for his college golf accomplishments (Low Scoring Average, two MVP Awards and Team Co-Captain) and his on-going work of bringing golf to people with disabilities.  In 2006, Bob was selected to participate as a member on the USA Amputee Golf Team as they played the International Amputee Golf Team following the 59th National Amputee Golf Championship at Onion Creek GC in Austin, TX for the College Park Cup (Amputee Ryder Cup).   The USA Team was victorious 14½ to 9½.

     In 2007, Bob was honored at the “Pennsylvanians with Disabilities” Day celebrations.  The PDD committee recognizes and celebrates individuals & organizations which demonstrate positive attitudes in the removal of barriers to the physically or mentally challenged.  Bob was selected for his and EAGA’s continuing efforts to empower persons with disabilities to enjoy the game of golf and by doing so open a broad vista of possibilities in the other areas of life.

     In 2009, Bob was selected to participate in a new initiative from the Department of Defense called “Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors”. The four day program was developed by Penn State University to educate and assist Recreation Managers at our Military installations at home and abroad bring Sports & Leisure activities to our Wounded Warriors.  Bob presents a personal perspective as an amputee and promotes the benefits of golf as a perfect sport for our amputee wounded warriors. The 22 conference sessions will conclude in 2014.

     Bob and his wife, Linda recently celebrated their 42nd Wedding Anniversary. During their life together, Linda received her college degree in Psychology (Moravian College – 1985) & her Master’s in Social Work (Marywood College – 1991). Now a retired LCSW, she is a SoulCollage® Program facilitator and continues to put up with Bob on the golf course. They have two grown daughters, Leigh Honeycutt Buck (39) and Jennifer Ann Knies (41) & her husband Eric and two grandchildren, Julia (8) and Austin (6). They all currently reside in Bethlehem, PA                                                                                                          T. 610-867-9295  Email. rbuck@eagagolf.org

Vice-President & NAGA Eastern Trustee Kellie Valentine - McKean, PA

Kellie became an amputee following an automobile accident which resulted in the loss of her right arm above the elbow in 1993. She has been a member of the National Amputee Golf Association (NAGA) for 16 years, starting in 1996. She has accumulated 27 Eastern Amputee Golf Association (EAGA) Tournament titles including 11 Eastern Regional Championships. She actively participates in the NAGA National Championships each year and has been selected several times as a member of the USA Team for the International Matches Cup (Amputee Ryder Cup) serving as USA Team Captain in 2005. Kellie was instrumental in reviving the Great Lakes Amputee Open in 1999 running that event for three years. In 2001, she was nominated and elected to serve on the EAGA Board of Officers as Vice-President. She has been a wonderful ambassador for the EAGA lending a hand at various events helping the disabled community. In 2010, Kellie was honored with her induction into the EAGA “Hall of Fame”. She was elected by the EAGA Members to her current position as the NAGA Eastern Trustee in 2011.  T. 814-323-2292  Email. kellievalentine@hotmail.com

Vice-President - Kim Mecca Jessup, PA

While working during her summer break from college in 1983, Kim Mecca lost her right arm above the elbow in an industrial accident when she was 18 years old.  She went to her first EAGA golf tournament in 1991 and has been a member ever since.  She was elected to the EAGA Board of Officers in 2003.  Kim won the Eastern Regional Amputee Golf Women’s Title in 2000 and has won 11 additional women championships at the Long Island, PA Open, Connecticut and Mason-Dixon events. In 2009, Kim was inducted into the EAGA “Hall of Fame”. Kim is retired from her position as Athletic Director at Lackawanna College.  She started working for the Lackawanna College in 1999.  Kim has four children, a son Matthew, and three daughters, Brittney, Kelly and MollyAnn, who is currently an EAGA Scholarship recipient attending Brown University.   T.570-383-3836  Email : kmecca15@yahoo.com

Vice-President - Rob Yates Williamsburg, VA

Rob is one of the original gang of twenty amputee golfers who came together at Ramblewood GC, Marlton, NJ in 1985 to help form the Eastern Amputee Golf Association (EAGA).  Rob had just had his leg amputated above the knee due to vascular disease and this was one of his early outings with his new  prosthesis. That event was one of many EAGA tournaments that he has participated in during the past 27 years. Rob organized several EAGA tournaments at his home club – Country Club of New Canaan in New Canaan, CT during those formative years of EAGA. As a lifelong golfer Rob was determined that his loss of limb would not prevent him from playing golf. He managed to win a number of prestigious events at his club to the amazement of his close friends and fellow members. EAGA has been very important to him and as a member of the first class of the EAGA “Hall of Fame” inductees, he has always encouraged support of the Association and what it provides to its membership. After over forty years in New Canaan, Rob and Margaret have just recently moved to Williamsburg, VA where golf and a more relaxed life await. He plans to continue to enter several events and attend and participate in the EAGA  Board of Officers  Annual Meeting. T. 757-645-4733  Email. rybag@aol.com

Vice-President - George Karnes Camp Hill, PA

George Karnes is an above knee amputee having lost is leg due to cancer.  George has been involved in the EAGA since 1997 when he approached ED Bob Buck at the Lancaster Host CC as he was packing his car following the 11th Eastern Regional Amputee Championship.  Noticing Bob was an amputee, he inquired about all the other amputees he saw on the course. The rest is history. George immediately joined the EAGA. In 2000, he started his own amputee golf tournament called the Cumberland Valley Amputee Open.  The tournament ran until 2002 when George was asked if he would be able to hold the PA Amputee Open as the EAGA needed a site because Penn State University could no longer hold the event. For the past eleven years, the PA Amputee Open has been the season starting tournament at Carlisle Barracks & Allenberry Resort and one of the best events on the EAGA Schedule.  In 2000, he was elected to the Board of Officers of the EAGA and has been an active member of the board. He led the effort helping to form the selection criteria for the EAGA Scholarship process. In 2010, George was honored with his induction into the EAGA “Hall of Fame”. He has given of his time to many organizations including the Cripple Children’s Organization and was the main speaker at the Marine’s Toys for Tots fund raising golf tournament.  George and his wife, Kathy live in Camp Hill, PA    T. 717-737-8959   Email. ampgolf@comcast.net

Vice-President - John Prestwood Berwyn, PA

John Prestwood is an above knee amputee who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident while a teenager in 1971. He had previously played golf on his high school team and then picked up the game again after college when he realized amputees’ sports didn’t have to end due to a disability. John heard about the EAGA in the early 1990’s, joined in 1992 and played in his first tournament in Lancaster, PA that year. Since then he has been a regular on the “Amputee Tour” and became a Life Member in 1998. Over the past 20 years, he has won 15 EAGA tournaments in PA, NJ, NY and CT.  He has also played nationally as well as internationally in the British Amputee Open often finishing in the top 10 in England, Scotland and Ireland.  John has been selected four times to represent the USA Team for the International Matches Cup (Amputee Ryder Cup) and is undefeated with a record of 7-0-1.  John was elected to the EAGA Board of Officers in 2009 and was named EAGA Player of the Year in 2010. John was elected to the EAGA Hall of Fame in 2013. He enjoys sharing his love of golf with new amputees and disabled individuals at the NAGA “First Swing/Learn to Golf” Clinic where he and others golf professionals teach the disabled community and rehab professionals the basics of the game of golf. John is a retired actuary who directed a golf league for many years at his former company. He is a member of St Davids Golf Club in Wayne, PA.  John and his wife, Gwen who live in the suburban Philadelphia area have one daughter Elrena and five very active young grandchildren.

Vice-President - Doug DePaoli New Fairfield, CT

Doug DePaoli is an above knee amputee since 1986.  He has been involved in the EAGA since 1993, playing his first tournament in Nashua, NH.  Doug has been a Life Member of the EAGA ever since.  He has been the Tournament Chairman of the CT Amputee Open, held at Richter Park Golf Club in Danbury, CT since 2001.  The CT tournament was resurrected after a brief hiatus and has traditionally been the final tournament on the EAGA annual schedule.  Doug is thrilled to have been asked to become a member of the EAGA Board, an organization that has meant so much to him. Doug has been in Retail Banking since 1983 and is currently the Branch Manager of Key Bank in Pawling, NY.  He and his wife Rosy live in New Fairfield, CT with their daughters Julianne and Jaclyn.

Vice-President - Adam Benza Hellertown, PA

Adam Benza is a below knee amputee from Hellertown, PA who lost his right leg do to cancer at the age of 9.  After playing sports throughout his youth, he found his passion for golf.  He then attended Penn State University for Professional Golf Management and after his time there he became involved with the EAGA and their First Swing Clinics in 2009.  Adam has competed and won numerous amputee events EAGA – 3 Eastern Regional Titles and NAGA – Below Knee Champion 2011, won three club championships, represented the United States in the first Disabled Golf Team Championships in Japan, played on numerous Unites States Teams for the International Team Matches and has competed in professional and high-end amateur tournaments.  Adam’s goal is to use his passion for the game and knowledge of teaching to grow the game of golf for future generations, specializing in instructing persons with disabilities, by forming his own non-profit “Moving Foreward” (www,movingforeward.org).  Recently he has run the Pennsylvania Amputee Open for the past two years in his home town of Hellertown, PA at the Steel Club.

Vice-President - Bill Spratt Coatesville, PA

Bill Spratt is an above elbow amputee from Coatesville, PA Bill lost his right arm after being impaled on a gate post at a summer camp when 16.  He attended St. Anselm College and graduated in 1982 with a BA in Pre-Law. While at St. Anselm he played Rugby and Tennis.  Bill then went to work for Unisys for 10 years in the Facilities Dept. until suffering a career ending injury to his good shoulder. After extensive Physical Therapy he then retrained completing IT certifications including various Microsoft Engineering Certifications, Forensic Computer Investigation and Security Certifications.  Bill is currently an IT Director for a Financial Investing Firm and its Partner Firm specializing in Healthcare Benefits.   Bill developed a passion for Golf after being introduced at the EAGA Championship in Downingtown in 2009. Bill continues to play as much as possible and strives to bring the newest technology to the EAGA.