A charity golf tournament will be held to support the family of Tampa Police Officer Matthew McNeal, who died of cancer at the beginning of the year. McNeal served on TPD’s bike unit.

The local community will have a chance to show its support to the family of deceased Tampa Police Officer Matthew McNeal by participating in an 18-hole charity golf tournament, promoted as the Back the Line First Annual Golf Tournament, on Saturday, April 2 at Summerfield Crossings Golf Club in Riverview.

McNeal died of brain cancer at age 34 on January 2 and had been an officer with TPD since 2014. He was a member of the department’s Special Operations Unit’s Bicycle Operations and Response Team and earned two Life Saving Awards, an Excellent Duty Award, a Community Policing Award and a Unit Citation during his service as a police officer, according to a TPD Facebook post, which also describes McNeal as “a kind and humble man, who loved being a police officer.” McNeal was born in Tampa and also served as a corrections officer with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office after earning an Associate of Arts degree at Hillsborough Community College.

The event is being organized by Back the Line Charity Events and is sponsored by the Firemen’s Benevolent Association of the City of Tampa. According to organizers, the funds raised will go entirely to the family McNeal leaves behind, including wife Mandy, a son and a daughter.

Some of those involved with Back the Line Charity Events have family or close ties to the first responder community and their understanding of what a public safety career involves provides motivation to help others.

“They give their lives to the community and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Founder of Back the Line Charity Events Heather Cropper, who grew up in Valrico and played golf at Durant High School.

Besides the golf tournament, the Back the Line event will include ticket drawings with prizes and dinner.

Summerfield Crossings Golf Club is located at 13050 Summerfield Blvd., one mile east of U.S. 301, in Riverview. Tournament sign-in begins at 11:30 a.m., as do the silent auction and drawing of raffle and 50/50 tickets; the shotgun start is at 1 p.m.; and dinner is at 5:30 p.m.

The cost to play is $125 per golfer or $400 for a team of four. The deadline to register is Saturday, March 26, and paid sponsorship opportunities for the tournament are available.

For more information, send an email to backthelinecharity@gmail.com or visit the Back the Line Charity Events Facebook page @BackTheLineCharityEvents.

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Avian-named publications have figured prominently in Brad Stager's career. Besides writing for the Osprey Observer, he started out writing sports articles for the Seahawk, a weekly newspaper serving the military community aboard Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. That position followed a career documenting life in the Fleet, from the Straits of Magellan to the North Arabian Sea, as a Navy Photographer's Mate. Since settling in the Tampa Bay area, Brad has produced a variety of written, visual and aural content for clients ranging from corporate broadcasters to small businesses.