BULLARD - Every year in late September, the city of Tyler gives back to those who have given so much to us for the freedoms we enjoy.
The 10th annual Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation Pro-Am Weekend will take place Sept. 29 thru Oct. 2. Ten years ago, seven wounded warriors from Brooke Army Medical Center participated.
This year, chairman Dick Goetz, a retired Senior PGA Tour professional, believes 25 to 30 wounded warriors will be in the Rose City for three days of festivities, culminating in a Pro-Am golf tournament on Monday, Oct. 2 at The Cascades Golf & Country Club.
“Each year we just try to bring them in and show them a good time,” Goetz said. “The generals we have visited with say that golf is the most therapeutic thing (we can provide).
“Last year we had triple amputee, Brian Anderson, who had lost both legs and his left hand in 2007 in Iraq, came here and spoke to the kids at All Saints Episcopal School. He said ‘Bad things happened to me and I just had to figure what I wanted to do with my life. And I wanted to have fun, so that is what I’m doing.’”
On Thursday, the Texas Wounded Warriors held a luncheon at Kiepersol Estates Restaurant to formally announce this year’s event. The Hall Buick Family held a month of promotion to honor the warriors. For each vehicle sold in May, Hall Buick GMC donated $100 to the Texas Wounded Warriors Foundation.
Hall family members announced to Goetz and others that the month of promotion raised $9,400.
“This is not only a great organization, but it’s a great local organization,” Monte Hall said. “It keeps the dollars right here with the local warriors in Texas.”
Staff Sgt. Patrick Rogers was recognized during the luncheon as a wounded warrior who was also part of Operation Finally Home, an organization that honors heroes with homes. The Rogers family lives in Flint.
Rogers served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a medic before retiring in July 2013. His heroism led Rogers to receive a Combat Medal Badge, an Air Medal with Valor Citation and a Purple Heart.
He admits to not being much of a golfer, but said that does not take anything away from the appreciation he and his fellow wounded warriors have for the this annual event.
“The Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation has done many things for the wounded vets in Texas,” Rogers said. “I, myself, have had support from them and several of my friends. When vets are in need, I try to send them their way because every one of us needs help once in a while and they’re there to support us.
“The Pro-Am is their big money maker. The money goes to the vets. The vets have a great time and we bring in vets from all across the state, and the community around here just really supports (the event).”
Notes: Since its inception in 2008, the Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation has helped more than 350 veterans and raised over $3.5 million dollars. The calendar for the weekend is Friday, Sept. 29: Party for the Wounded Warriors at Rio Neches Ranch; Saturday, Sept. 30: Party and Casino Night at KE Bushman’s Winery & Celebration Center in Bullard; Sunday, Oct. 1: A nine-hole golf event will take place at Eagles’ Bluff Country Club in Bullard before the 10th annual Texas Wounded Warrior Foundation Pro-Am on Monday, Oct. 2 at The Cascades.