GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (WLNS) – Proud at attention, Sgt. Robert Monroy of Grand Ledge wore his best Patriot Golf Day get-up on fittingly one of the best fall golf days of the season.
The weather was a gem as was the setting, The Emerald in St. Johns, with the occasion being equally precious for Robert.
He was being honored for his service overseas, fighting for the Michigan National Guard in Iraq.
“It's fun to actually go out there and hit the ball and when I mean hit actually smash it but it usually just goes rollin off the tee, you know, ya practice, practice, practice,” said Robert Monroy.
And practice he did, Robert, through a military friend, received gift cards to play every course in mid-Michigan for free right through Veteran's Day.
It's “a way to give back to one of the local heroes that's out there who's actually now in his own battle back here at home,” said Jason Fuller, Robert's military friend.
Robert's battle – terminal cancer.
“So there's a lot of worry involved for me,” said Monroy.
This summer Robert was re-diagnosed with an aggressive and ultimately deadly form of esophageal cancer. Doctors told him it was linked to toxic fumes he breathed in while entrenched near burn pits with his unit in Iraq.
Doctors gave him two options, undergo intense and physically draining chemotherapy for months on end with no positive end result in sight, or make the most of the limited time they expect him to have left.
“Thats one of the things my wife hates, that I don't show my emotions, I take so many meds as it is,” said Robert.
As a result Robert made the decision, supported by his family to stop his chemotherapy at Sparrow Hospital and start his bucket list.
Teed up right at the top of it was to learn the game of golf and play as much as possible.
Robert says, “Golf, kinda, it helps that relief of the stress and it takes my mind off things,”
When asked if this is tough to do, based on all of the things he is going through, Robert said, “yeah, because my mind is not just on the things I'm going through, but also my family, what my wife is going through, my daughter, you know what's going through their heads constantly.”
One constant he's been sure of is their love and their understanding of his decision, both in terms of the course he took with cancer and his desire to be on this course.
“I have a great wife, a great support system at home, my daughter's been great. You know, I couldn't expect anything more from them,” said Robert.
On the links and in his life, expectations are high too, just like some of the golf scores, he jokes.
Because even if he's had his final drive here, the drive to live the rest of his life to the fullest is truly inspiring, no matter how you “slice it.”