BULLARD — Legendary performer Randy Travis took the stage, entertaining down-to-earth country fans for the Texas Wounded Warrior Pro-Am and Celebration honoring wounded soldiers on Saturday.
“He's always got a message about that and makes a difference,” Simms said. Travis replied, “Somebody needs to do it.”
The celebration was not only to have a good time but to honor wounded warriors who paid a big price by choice for the country, an official of the Wounded Warriors organization told the crowd.
A stillness descended on the auditorium during a prayer for warriors silenced in battle. Wounded warriors were introduced to a standing ovation, loud cheers and chants of “USA.”
Retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Bob Dulaney praised courage demonstrated by the armed forces, calling the military heroes for defending freedom that allows everyone to live the American dream. “Let's not take this for granted,” he said.
His baritone voice backed up by a five-piece band during the concert, the iconic Travis sang many of his biggest hits and oldies.
Shortly after opening the show, Travis, who was dressed in a black ornate blazer, black jeans and a red shirt, sang several songs from his first album called “Storms of Life” recorded 25 years ago. “See how many you remember,” he suggested to the crowd.
His singing was intersticed with banter. After asking how many in the audience had never been to one of his shows before, Travis said it was easy to see how it was missed since he has only been touring for 25 years.
Sitting in the audience with her husband, Kathy Gaston, of Bullard said, “We've been huge fans of Randy Travis for a long time and (seeing him) do a benefit for the wounded warriors is just a plus.”
Jo Ann Fitch, of Whitehouse, said, “Wounded Warriors is a great event. … I think it's a great thing to be a part of.”
Her husband, Richard Fitch, added, “Wounded Warriors is a very beneficial thing to help celebrate what they (soldiers) have done for us. (Coming to the concert) is the least thing we can do. I like to see Randy Travis but it's (great) seeing the people that have fought for us and kept this land free.”
Travis has been a star on the country music scene since the mid-1980s when his debut album sold nearly four million copies.
Since then, Travis has had a string of successful songs and albums. He reputedly has recorded 16 No. 1 singles and over a dozen albums. Among his releases is an album of traditional and contemporary religious songs.
One of his major hits was “Three Wooden Crosses,” a song about faith and redemption.
According to his website, Travis has won seven Grammy Awards, five Country Music Association awards, 10 Academy of Country Music statuettes, 10 American Music Awards, seven Music City News awards and eight Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association.
The four-day pro-Am and celebration, which began Friday, will continue today with a junior golf clinic, nine-hole scramble and Golf Trick Shot demonstration by Chuck “The Hitman” Hiter at Eagle's Bluff Country Club. On Monday, wounded warriors will visit All Saints Episcopal School followed by a pro-am tournament at Willow Brook Country Club.
Texas Wounded Warrior is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Contributions go toward underwriting the cost of the annual event and helping severely wounded military personnel and their families.