SAN ANGELO, Texas --
San Angelo Support for Veterans and Lone Star Warriors Outdoors, a Texas non-profit organization, honored 15 wounded veterans at the San Angelo Support for Veterans Honor Ceremony on Dec. 5 at the Bill Aylor Sr. Memorial Riverstage here. This event kicked off the beginning of a weekend for veterans to participate in a game hunt with other former service members along with many other events provided by the local community.
Veteran selection required the honorees to apply and complete an interview with Lone Star Warriors Outdoors. Lone Star Warriors Outdoors offers injured veterans a chance to connect with others through events such as hunting, fishing, golf tournaments, cook-offs, and shooting competitions.
“San Angelo Support for Veterans helps facilitate this event, but it begins with Chris Gill and Lone Star Warriors Outdoors,” said Co-Chairman of San Angelo Support for Veterans, Kurt Cleere. “They select the participants, they interview them, and work on this year-round.”
This event brought many together to participate in a hunt which builds relationships amongst people with similar experiences.
“Honestly, I feel like I’m amongst giants,” said retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Chris Eggbert, who served 23 years before being medically retired. “It’s a very humbling experience. I don’t know their stories but it doesn’t matter. For the first time in a long time I felt normal being around people that have had some of the same walks. We are from all different services, we come together and hopefully we build bonds for life.”
The welcoming ceremony allowed for civic leaders and leaders from Goodfellow Air Force Base to personally thank those who have served and welcome them to the community. Local bands from Central High School and Lakeview High School were also featured during the ceremony along with the presentation of the colors by Goodfellow’s Joint Service Color Guard.
“Public education is the cornerstone of our democracy,” said San Angelo Independent School District Superintendent, Dr. Carl Dethloff. “Without your service, your protection of that liberty, a free and public education would simply not exist. Your story is a tale of global involvement, a tale of sacrifice and vigilance, and a record of service, a record of national security, a record and a tale of providing peace over America. We are forever grateful for your service and dedication.”
Following the civic leaders, Col. Robert Ramirez, 17th Training Wing vice commander, thanked the veterans for all they had done and compared their experience as veterans to their predecessors.
“It’s been said before that a society can be judged by the way they treat their veterans and in our great American history, we haven’t always done the best job taking care of our veterans” said Ramirez. “However, I’m confident after speaking with you all and those of us who have deployed to places like Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years that America is taking care of its veterans. We are so grateful to those Vietnam veterans who were there at the USO being sure to greet us as we came back home.”
After being honored at the ceremony, the veterans set off for a weekend of hunting and camaraderie.