Sunday, January 7, 2007

Show of Military Support

For one weekend in November, Midland, Texas feted some of our nation’s finest. And I and some of my co-workers were honored to participate. This weekend is never far from my mind – so I decided to share it with you.

The event was our Second Annual
Show of Military Support. Show of Support is a non-profit organization, founded by our fellow Midlander Terry Johnson, and provides hunting adventures to the brave, wounded heroes of our Armed forces. This year, 24 servicepersons from different branches of our military, as well as their significant others, were honored for their service to America.

Upon their arrival in Midland Wednesday night, the families were transported, by limos escorted by local police and sheriff’s office deputies, to our local Hilton hotel. Many activities awaited these "honorary" Texans, thanks to Arminae Ward, Executive Director, Show of Support. She is amazing – I cannot imagine all the facets of coordination this woman blended to make this event flow so well. The honorees and their families attended a luncheon on Thursday, and then were again taken by escorted limos to the Midland Horseshoe Event Center. Many tears were shed as these servicemen and their families walked up the long red carpet, lined on both sides by applauding West Texans as well as the
Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans, and members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.

The walk up the red carpet was followed by a short meet and greet. What an honor to meet these servicemen and their families! This was followed by the Show of Support banquet, featuring
Texas Governor Rick Perry, and performances by country music singers Clay Walker and Aaron Tippin, as well as an auction. Through various sponsors, each serviceperson was presented a hunting rifle, a Texas flag, camouflage hunting gear & boots, and of course, the ultimate gift for one visiting Texas, requisite Stetson® cowboy hat!

Anyone can volunteer at this event, and/or sponsor. My employer sponsored a table at the Show of Support banquet, as well as providing a fine chicken fried steak meal, complete with homemade ice cream, for the hunters at the Rocking Chair Ranch in San Angelo on Friday. My coworkers and I volunteered at the banquet, auction, and also, Friday night at the ranch.

(Thanks to
Texas Trophy Hunters Association, you can view television clips of the hunts here and view the profiles of the selected hunters here. Want to sponsor or participate? Contact Terry Johnson.)

The morning following the banquet, the 24 servicemen were whisked off to various West Texas ranches for a weekend of whitetail deer hunting. Many of these servicemen were taken straight out of military hospitals such as
Walter Reed Army Medical Center and scheduled to return to hospital to complete their rehabilitation at the completion of this weekend. Men and women from any branch of service who were wounded and are discharged or would be discharged prior to the scheduled hunt, are eligible for consideration to participate in the outdoor adventures that Show of Support offers. Some of the servicemen were handpicked by different generals and Terry Johnson as they toured the hospitals where the servicemen are rehabilitating from serious injuries. Terry visits the hospitals frequently throughout the year, and builds friendships with these servicemen, servicewomen, and their families. The military encourages spouses to be at their serviceman’s side at the hospitals, to speed the healing process. Needless to say, the Show of Support weekend was also a short vacation for the spouses and significant others of the servicemen. While their men were gone a-hunting, the ladies were treated to a weekend of spa treatments, tours of The Petroleum Museum, CAF Museum, Museum of the Southwest, and donated shopping sprees at Susie's South Forty Confections, the Ivy Cottage, and Miss Cayce's Christmas Store.

The whole weekend was awesome, and the honorees and their families could not say enough about the generosity of Terry Johnson, Show of Support, and Midlanders.

Terry Johnson is a man among men. He is quiet, and humble. Though he’s never himself served in the military, Terry is a man who cares about this country – and the men and women who serve her. Seeking no glory, Terry chooses to honor those men and women, in the way he loves best – by providing them with an outdoor hunting adventure.

As Terry Johnson simply states on the Show of Support website, “These individuals have selflessly given their service to our nation to guarantee our safety and to protect our freedoms. There is not a more noble cause than what these individuals have taken upon themselves to do. Their sense of honor, dignity, pride and sacrifice is what allows us to live in a nation that others clamor to our borders to be a part of. They have volunteered to put their lives on the line for their beliefs, a free America. Free from the threat of a segment of those who would want to see us living in fear. This mighty nation will and is standing up to this terror threat thanks to these individuals.” ©

I’m glad there are men like Terry - and glad to know him.

11 comments:

Gwynne said...

Heartwarming to know that there are folks like Terry and SOS enhancing the lives of those who are enhancing ours.

Karen said...

Wow. What a wonderful man and story. Hats off to you and your fellow volunteers.
My husband is a Vietnam vet and I am so tired of the anti-war propaganda everywhere.
God Bless them.

Rach said...

I must wear my Stetson tomorrow! :). Glad that they honoured the vets!

Janie said...

Gwynne, Karen, and Rach - it truly was a wonderful time. We owe our vets so much...

Badoozie said...

i'm sorry it has taken me so long to get you linked, it is now done!

Janie said...

No problema, chica! Don't worry about a thing!

Trace said...

Oh how wonderful to honor the veterans in this way. What a tribute to their service.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with all that has transpired in the past 5 years, we have to admit that these soldiers are the bravest of the brave!

Janie said...

Tracy - I agree. They deserve our utmost gratitude. Check out some of their videos.

jennifer said...

Wow. Great work to put this together for them. Our troops deserve so much and to often get so little. This is an outstanding example of what more we should be doing.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Everytime I watch your show with our young Vets hunting whitetails, Well it just brings tears to my eyes! I would like to thank all to all!! The troops, and Terry Johnson and all the rest of the folks that takes to make this happen! And special thanks to all the troops!! Thanks, Mike

Janie said...

Mike,

I just realized you left a comment! Welcome to Sounding Forth!

I will be posting new videos this week of this years hunt. Be sure to watch them! They're awesome!