RENO — Luke Schober is all about helping people.
It’s what led him to join the Marine Corps after graduating from Douglas High School in 2004, and it’s what led him to want to volunteer at this year’s Reno-Tahoe Open.
When the 27-year-old Schober went to the RTO website to find out how to volunteer, he noticed the Doctors Supporting Troops tab. The program is made up of six local doctors — Daniel Rowan, Robert Quigley, Charles Virden, Jason Champagne, Renny Upal and Jim Nunley – who put up the money for six veterans to participate in the annual pro-am.
Servicemen can apply or be nominated. Schober, who loves to golf, filled out the application and was one of six people selected. More than 50 applications were received by the RTO.
Schober and two other veterans were paired with Ricky Barnes. The other veterans were paired with South African Rory Sabbatini.
Schober, who said he has a best score of 89 at Silver Oak, hit some good shots and some bad shots.
“I was anxious,” Schober said before the round. “I could have played better. You can always play better.
“Ricky (Barnes) was great. He is a really good guy and really down to earth. He was helping everybody (in the group).”
Playing in an event such as this was a dream come true for Schober, who lists Phil Mickelson and David Duval as two of his favorite golfers.
“I took some lessons and a couple of friends have helped me,” said Schober, who said he didn’t play much golf growing up because he couldn’t afford clubs. “Mostly I’ve learned through practice.
“I’m trying to get better with my driving and putting. Putting has always been tough.”
Schober said he’d love to play more often, but between working at Trader Joe’s and attending Western Nevada College full time, he doesn’t have much free time. At WNC, he’s pursuing deaf studies, but he’s not sure what he will do after he gets his associate’s degree.
Unlike some of his compatriots, Schober was fortunate enough to survive two tours of Iraq without losing a limb.
“I liked it (the Marines),” Schober said. “It was fun and challenging. I did OK in academics (at Douglas). I got into the military because I wanted to try something new. I wanted to help people and have money for college.”
Schober admitted that he had a couple of close calls with death, but never spent time worrying about it.
“You never really think about it,” he said. “If you do, you’ll come up dead or get hurt. If you get killed, you get killed. You can’t stop it, so why worry about it?
“Everybody (in the service) deals with post-traumatic stress syndrome. I’m getting help for it.”