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Miss Midland - 2016 Miss Texas USA People’s Choice Award Winner
Every dollar collected from the People’s Choice Award at the 2016 Miss Texas USA and Miss Texas Teen USA Pageant in Houston went to the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation to assist Wounded Warriors, their families, and/or caregivers from Iraq including Gulf War I and Gulf War II as well as Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Each dollar bought one vote for one’s favorite contestant.
Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation Kiepersol Estates Luncheon
The TXWWF held a luncheon at the Kiepersol Estates Restaurant on Wednesday, June 8th. Attendees included some of the TXWWF board of directors, members of the Dew Boys of Eagle’s Bluff Country Club, Mr. Chris Cox of Veteran’s Affairs at the University of Texas at Tyler, the Hall Family of Hall Buick GMC, as well as some members of the media. Three objectives were accomplished: 1) TXWWF Chairman Dick Goetz accepted a $10,000 donation from the Hall family, 2) Dick and the Dew Boys presented UT Tyler with $20,000 in veterans’ scholarships, and 3) Dick announced the details of the largest TXWWF event of the year—the upcoming Pro Am Weekend Celebration scheduled for September 30 – October 3, 2016 (further details on this event will be posted soon noted on our Programs and Events page).
The Hall family, including Jerry and Pam Hall and their son, Monte, has been a consistent supporter of the TXWWF for several years, providing vehicles for transportation during the Pro-Am Celebration, as well as dedicating the month of May to help the TXWWF at their car dealership. During this special promotion, they reserve a percentage of the proceeds from each vehicle sold specifically for the TXWWF, and this past May was the most successful fund-raising effort they have accomplished to date. The Halls stem from a long line of family military service members, dating to at least World War II, and are avid advocates of our men and women in uniform.
The story behind how the Dew Boys got their name is somewhat unique. It all started a few years ago when several men from Eagle’s Bluff Country Club near Tyler began to meet regularly on the golf course to play a round of golf when the dew was still thick on the ground. The Dew Boys, most of whom are veterans themselves, know from experience what it’s like to fight for our nation’s freedom. After realizing that they wanted to do something special for veterans in East Texas, they decided to raise money for veterans’ college scholarships to be given to the University of Texas at Tyler. Once their money-raising efforts achieved their goal, the TXWWF matched these funds, and a check was given to Chris Cox of Veterans’ Affairs at the university to launch the Richard and Madeline Lewis Veterans Scholarship. Wounded Warrior veterans will be given top priority as recipients of these monies to help defray the costs of their higher education that would otherwise not be covered by the GI Bill or other federal veterans programs. In the adjacent photo, pictured left to right are Maj. Gen. Paul Landers and Richard Lewis of the Dew Boys, Chris Cox, and Dick Goetz.
Wounded Warrior Gets Custom Golf Club Fitting at PING Headquarters in Phoenix
Texas Wounded Warrior Chairman, Dick Goetz, took Wounded Warrior Randy McGinnis to PING headquarters in Phoenix May 10-12. Dick has taken several Wounded Warriors for this special club fitting for several years now, and is a trip that he most enjoys. PING provides a personal club fitter and keeps a record of the specifications of each fitting. James Lee, on the left of the adjacent photo, served in the USAF and has worked for PING for the last ten years. Randy, on the right, is stationed at Lackland AFB in San Antonio and is still on active duty with his wife, Krista. In an ironic twist of fate, as James and Randy got to know each other, they discovered they had a common bond reaching beyond the AF--Randy found out that the person he plays golf with every Saturday is actually James' best friend! The cliche' "it's a small world, afterall," definitely applies to this happenstance! James gave his best friend a call, and they all had a three-way conversation to discuss their new-found connection. It was really a great trip...
Kyle Field Day at Texas A&M
The TXWWF teamed up with the Kappa Delta Sorority to man a booth at the Texas A&M Kyle Field Day on Saturday, April 23. Many corps, along with volunteers and various booth visitors came and wrote Thank You notes to our troops serving overseas. They managed to complete about 200 cards. Board member Lily Garst was privileged to get to meet with Patriot Paws, a dog training group which provides service dogs to assist veterans, located in Rockwall, TX. We found out that it costs $27,000 to train a dog for service, and that veterans who get a dog from this institution pay nothing. Funds are covered through donations, corporate sponsors, etc. Lily also met with four separate horse training camps that are based in College Station that provide Equestrian therapy for veterans who are recovering from PTSD and other wounds of combat.
Lily Garst (far left) with representatives of the Kappa Delta Sorority
Lily with Reveille
Fort Hood Terror Attack Victims Receive the Texas Purple Heart
On March 11, many from around the state and the nation, totaling approximately 800 people, gathered in Kileen, TX to honor victims of the Fort Hood Terror Attack on November 5, 2009. That tragedy wounded 31 people and took the lives of 13 others. Texas Governor Greg Abbott awarded the Texas Purple Heart to families of the fallen and pinned the medals onto soldiers who survived the tragedy. SFC Paul Martin, a close friend of the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation and two-time guest of the TXWWF Pro-Am Weekend Celebration, flew in from upstate New York to receive his medal. SFC Martin was the first person shot in the attack and received five bullet wounds.
All recipients were awarded the federal Purple Heart in a ceremony at Fort Hood last April after winning a lengthy battle with the Department of Defense—the incident was originally classified as one of workplace violence. It was only later called a terror attack because of an Act of Congress, which made victims eligible for the Purple Heart medal, an honor bestowed strictly to those killed or wounded in combat. The Texas Purple Heart is similar but it does not carry the medical benefits of the federal Purple Heart.
After a nearly two-hour ceremony with Gov. Abbott speaking about a minute with each family and service member as he greeted them on stage, the audience was dismissed to the nearby and newly erected Fort Hood Memorial. Tim Hancock, Kileen’s mayor at the time of the terror attack, was charged with raising funds and organizing construction of the memorial—a $400,000 project which was paid for with donations and in-kind services—and it did not disappoint. The complex includes a gazebo and a 13-pillar circle with the American flag at its center, displaying individual pillars representing each of the 13 people who died. A unique bronze sculpture adorns the top of each pillar, a personal memorial that families chose to best reflect those they lost. Survivors were overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude at the beauty of the structure and were very thankful to all those involved who helped with the project. To view the story posted in the Kileen Daily Herald, click here, and to view pictures taken at this event, click here.
Operation Finally Home
A ribbon cutting ceremony for a new, mortgage-free home built by Carlyle Homes in conjunction with Operation Finally Home, took place on February 25 for the family of Sgt. Patrick Rogers in Flint, TX. Sgt. Rogers is a Wounded Warrior from the war theaters of Iraq and Afghanistan. The TXWWF was one of several major contributors toward the construction of this home. To see a news clip of this heart-warming story, click here.
Learning About the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation: UT Tyler Dept. of Nursing Students Meet with Dick Goetz
As part of a class assignment, nursing students Natalia Zarnowski (left) and Heather Ferguson (right) interviewed Chairman, Dick Goetz about the TXWWF and what we are doing to assist Wounded Warriors all across the State of Texas.