It’s hard to believe that almost 11 years have passed since two Buchanan High School grads were killed in action in Iraq, an event that rocked the Clovis community.
Less than three years after the passing of Lcpl. Jared Hubbard and Cpl. Jeremiah Baro, another Buchanan graduate — Hubbard’s younger brother, Nathan — was also killed in action, sending another jolt of pain through the city.
Today, the faces of the young men can be seen on a large plaque inside a rehabilitation room in Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fresno — a room dedicated to Baro and the Hubbards that has been partially funded by a golf tournament held annually in their name.
The nonprofit Hubbard-Baro Memorial Golf Tournament, which will commemorate its 11th year on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, has raised nearly $300,000 for the VA hospital.
The donations have helped purchase rehabilitation and exercise equipment for the 16,000 square foot facility, which opened in October 2012.
The room is a testament to what the tournament has done to help veterans, said event coordinator Andrea Der Manouel.
“We’re really proud of what we’ve done there,” Der Manouel said. “You can see where our funds are going.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP Register as a foursome for $700 or $175 per person at hubbardbarogolf.com. Registration includes green fees, lunch by Rally’s Hamburgers, a dinner and awards banquet, raffle and live auction. Even those who don’t play golf can contribute. Click on the Sponsor tab and make a contribution in honor of a veteran, or send a check payable to Hubbard-Baro Memorial Golf Tournament, 7447 N. First St. #101, Fresno CA 93720. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or call Cory Brock at (559) 977-9605.
Jared Hubbard and Jeremiah Baro grew up together in Clovis. They wrestled for Buchanan and made friends easily.
“They were just the nicest guys you could ever meet,” said their longtime friend Austin Brock.
The two joined the Marine Corps together in December of 2001 and shipped out to Iraq.
On Nov. 4, 2004, LCpl. Hubbard, 22, and Cpl. Baro, 21, were killed by a roadside bomb.
“It was unexpected, and a big hit to the community,” Brock said.
Their funeral was held on Veterans Day 2014 and they were buried next to each other in Clovis Cemetery on Villa and Herndon avenues, Brock said.
The following year, Brock and a group of Hubbard and Baro’s friends organized the first Hubbard-Baro Memorial Golf Tournament. About 40 participants gathered on Veterans Day to tee off.
“The year after that there were only 16 of us, we had four teams. But companies donated prizes … and we realized we could turn it into a fundraiser,” Brock said.
Meanwhile, both of Jared Hubbard’s brothers joined the military.
Jason Hubbard, the eldest in the family and a Fresno County Sheriff’s deputy, and Nathan, the youngest sibling, enlisted in the U.S. Army. They went to Iraq in the same combat unit in the summer of 2006.
On Aug. 22, 2007, two years and nine months after Jeff and Peggy Hubbard learned about their son Jared’s death, they learned that their youngest son had also died. Nathan Hubbard, 21, was killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash.
It really hits home to everybody, no matter what city you live in.
— Austin Brock, president of Hubbard-Baro Memorial Golf Tournament
Jason Hubbard, who was on another helicopter in the same unit, accompanied his brother’s body from Iraq to Kuwait, and then on to California. Jason was honorably discharged, and eventually The Hubbard Act was passed due to the family’s circumstances.
“The act says (a member of the armed forces) will get out with full benefits if they are the sole survivor of a family,” Brock said.
The golf tournament continued, this time honoring Baro and both Jared and Nathan Hubbard.
In 2007, the golf tournament was moved to Copper River and a dinner was included. About $7,500 was raised.
“We asked Jeff Hubbard, Jared’s dad, where he wanted the money to go, and he said the VA hospital,” Brock said.
Since then the tournament has grown, not only in the number of participants, but also in the amount of sponsorships. It is now held annually at Fort Washington Country Club in northeast Fresno. The tournament, which begins with a ceremony honoring veterans prior to the shotgun start, has been filled to capacity in recent years and has raised $25,000 to $30,000 annually for the past few years.
“It’s on a holiday, so a lot of people are off of work and can head out there for the golf tournament,” Brock said, noting that Jeff Hubbard, the men’s father and a retired Clovis Police officer, attends each year.
Support not only comes from the Central Valley, but also from all over the state.
“It really hits home to everybody, no matter what city you live in,” Brock said.