Corporal Carlos Brito (left) and Deputy Manuel Santos of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were injured while on duty in November 2023.

Supporting the first responders who keep the community safe is the mission of Back the Line Charity Events and the purpose of the fundraising activities it organizes.

This year’s annual golf and cornhole tournaments are raising money to support the families of Corporal Carlos Brito and Deputy Manuel Santos of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). They were severely injured during a service call at the Brandon home of 28-year-old Ralph Bouzy in November 2023. Brito and his wife have three children and Santos is married with two children.

According to HCSO, Bouzy allegedly hit the officers with his car at high speed with the intention of injuring them while they were conducting an investigation.

Brito and Santos’ injuries landed them in the hospital. Both have since been released from the hospital and are continuing to recover.

The fourth annual Back the Line Charity Golf Tournament will take place at the Eagles Golf Club in Odessa on Saturday, April 6. According to organizers, all funds generated by this year’s event will benefit Brito and Santos’ families. Sponsorships are available from $200-$5,000, and teams of four golfers cost $600 and include dinner. The shotgun start for the golf tournament is at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 23, is the registration deadline.

On the same day, organizers are hosting the second annual cornhole tournament, with practice beginning at 8 a.m., also at the Eagles Golf Club. Tournament sponsorships range from $100-$1,000. The registration fee for teams of two players is $60. The day’s events also include raffle drawings and a silent auction.

Hosting a golf and a cornhole tournament on the same day expands the activities for the public to enjoy and support, but it also means a greater need for individuals and organizations to become event sponsors and donors of items for prizes, according to event host Heather Cropper.

“We are looking for teams for both golf and cornhole, sponsorships and raffle baskets and silent auction items,” she wrote in an email announcing the tournaments.

More information can be found on the Back the Line Charity Events Facebook page.

Donations can be mailed to the Firemen’s Benevolent Charity of Tampa at 720 E. Zack St., Tampa, FL. 33602, Attn: Aaron Hanson or Heather Cropper. Checks should be made out to the Firemen’s Benevolent Charity of Tampa.

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Brad Stager
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.