There is just no way to describe the emotion we felt at the show of support for the Wounded Warrior-Paralyzed Veteran event Friday at the Eckert Civic Center. Very much appreciation, humility, the kind of love that makes a person very humble and a little closer to Godliness, perhaps. The Mason Community did yourselves proud, and we trust that you came away feeling good for it. We’ve told you all along that it’s a feel good thing, and now we hope you know what we’ve been talking about.
Close to fifty veterans and support personnel participated in the hunt. The Jerry Schwartz family from Brenham with a host of volunteers fed around two hundred total people, a great show of support for our veterans. Thanks to all the ladies who brought the salads, pies, cakes, cookies, and fixings—especially the desserts—it looked like a bakery in there! Frances Toeppich coordinated the meal since Jerry heads up her hunters, and we served over seventy pounds of sirloin, around forty pounds of sausage, and no telling how much creamed potatoes, potato salad, and beans. Isn’t life good? And on Saturday Joe Martinez and Donald Schulze served a good round of fajitas for lunch before the hunters headed back home or out to another dove hunt at John and Dana Haines place.
The most important aspect of this event was to get the men out of the hospital and the barracks, and out into nature for a weekend, but the success rate of the hunt was also good. On Friday and Saturday, the men hunted on eighteen different ranches, and for the hunt ended up with 25 deer and one hog.
We have expanded our base quite a bit, from the original four hunters on one ranch in Mason County, as we now hunt in McCullough, Gillespie, and Sonora counties, also. We do not want to not list anyone, but first time host ranches this year were Johnny and LeAnn Fleming, Tommy and Joyce Durst, Dane and Carolyn Phillips, Billy and Marsha Kothmann, Herman and Jackie Morris, Jim and Lisa Heath, and Leon and Bennie Kothmann.
We also had some pretty high powered representatives here this week from the Paralyzed American Veterans Organization, which means you folks from Mason and the surrounding area are making waves and making noise in support of our veterans as a whole and our wounded veterans in particular. You probably saw Kendall’s article in last week’s News about Joe Fox being here, who is the past National President and still on the National Board of Directors of PVA. David Fowler was also here from Houston, and he is the Texas State President of PVA. Dr. Stanley McGowan of Weatherford, the real mover and shaker of the wounded warrior outdoor programs, has been here the last two weekends, and though a blind veteran, harvested a buck on the Durst Ranch. We also had two members of the PVA board here from Oklahoma who also work for Mossy Oak, and it would not surprise us if we get some TV footage of our event in some of their programs in the future.
Lastly, a huge thanks to all of you for all of your donations throughout the year to make all of this possible. Maybe next year we’ll raffle a rifle or something but if you feel the urge to make a donation, you can go to the Commercial or National Bank anytime and they can take care of you. But we would be remiss if we did not publicly thank Clarence and Dianna Drake of Carmeuse Sands of Voca, who were both in attendance Friday. Carmeuse has been steadfast in its support of our program since its inception, employs many Mason County men, and we thank you. This year we also thank Mason Dr. Pepper, the Mason County Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Mason Lions Club, and the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 450 of Houston, for generous donations.
Again, Mason, another big THANKS! It’s still a feel good thing! Till next year…