Wounded Warrior celebration begins Friday

Published on Saturday, 21 September 2013 23:34 - Written by From Staff Reports

The sixth annual Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation Celebration and Pro-Am begins Friday with the arrival in Tyler of 30 U.S. military personnel who have been seriously injured in Afghanistan or Iraq combat operations, Dick Goetz, chairman of the Tyler-based Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation, announced.

Wounded warriors are scheduled to arrive at 9:30 a.m. in two airplanes at the Jet Center of Tyler on the grounds of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. The public is invited to attend and participate in the official welcome.

Festivities will continue with students welcoming the warriors with flag-waving patriotic ceremonies at All Saints Episcopal School (2695 SSW Loop 323) at 10:30 a.m., then at The Brook Hill School at 1:30 p.m. in Bullard (1051 N. Houston St.). Warriors then will have an opportunity to tour the American Freedom Museum on the Brook Hill campus.

The four-day celebration will conclude with a Pro-Am golf tournament at Willow Brook Country Club on Monday, Sept. 30.

Many of the warriors who participate will come from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and other facilities in Texas that support veterans. Most have suffered severe burns, post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. Many are amputees. Some have lost multiple limbs.

“Texas has many wounded service men and women who have sacrificed a great deal for all of us,” Goetz said. “Whether they were born in Texas or were transferred here for rehabilitation, we thank them for their sacrifices and want them to know that we are here to support their needs.

“We’re excited to host this celebration again this year, and we thank the Tyler community for the hospitality and continued enthusiastic support it shows our wounded warriors.”

Before the golf Pro-Am on Sept. 30, warriors will have opportunities for R&R at private parties on Friday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and a casino party Saturday at KE Bushman’s near Bullard.

They will be treated to a golf exhibition by handicapped golfer Dennis Walters at noon Saturday at The Cascades Golf Club. About 60 junior golfers from The First Tee programs in Tyler and Longview will be special guests.

On Sept. 29 at Eagle’s Bluff Country Club in Bullard, several professional golfers are expected to be on hand to help warriors with their golf swings and basic fundamentals of the game.

Other visiting dignitaries during the four days will include generals and other high-ranking military officials. Several professional performers will volunteer their time as they entertain the warriors.

Since the first Tyler Wounded Warrior event in 2008, the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation and local businesses and other organizations have raised about $1 million for wounded warriors and have helped other support organizations such as Hope for the Warriors and Purple Heart Homes, Goetz said.

The mission of the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation (www.txwoundedwarrior.com ), a 501(c)(3) organization, is to honor and empower wounded warriors and to raise awareness of their continuing post-combat needs.