Texas community to host parade to welcome 7 wounded warriors

By MARK J. ARMSTRONG | The Kerrville (Texas) Daily Times | Published: July 5, 2014

A parade to welcome seven wounded warriors and their families for a weeklong stay with the Kerr County Wounded Warrior Family Hill Country Adventure Project will start at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Inn of the Hills and continue along Water Street to Memorial Boulevard to the Kerrville VA hospital.

Local residents are encouraged to go out and line up along Water Street to show their support for these veterans and their families. The parade will be in conjunction with an annual convention for Motor Maids, a national organization of women motorcyclists, who will participate in the event.

The Kerr County Wounded Warrior Family Hill Country Adventure Project is part of Operation Second Chance, an organization founded to promote public awareness of wounded, injured and ill combat veterans and their families. This is the second year for the local event started by retired Army Col. Tony Arnold and his wife, Cynthia Arnold.

Arnold said he had been hosting wounded warrior hunts at his ranch in Mountain Home for eight years when a friend and fellow retired Army officer turned him on to the idea of doing activities that involved the entire family.

“These guys are volunteers and almost all of them have three or four deployments to Afghanistan. And while they are getting a lot of recognition ... there’s very little for the families,” Arnold said. “And they make significant sacrifices, too.”

This year, seven wounded warriors suffering from various combat related injuries including PTSD will spend five days in Kerr County. The seven wounded warriors are coming from Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where many have undergone months of rehab and multiple surgeries after being injured.

The wounded warriors and their families will participate in a variety of activities starting Tuesday with dinner and the parade. Other activities include a wine tour, fish fry, kayaking and canoeing on the Guadalupe River, golfing and touring the Hill County.

During their stay, the youngest children will spend the day at the First Untied Methodist Church in Kerrville, while the older kids will spend time at local summer camps. In total, 14 adults and 18 children will be guests of the program.

“It’s not very far from San Antonio, but it gets them out of that hospital environment,” Arnold said. “And it really touched them to see the community support.”


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