Heroes Tree 1
Ester Gates talks to students about her son, Keith Campbell, who was killed in action in 1967 during the Vietnam War during the Celebrate Our Heroes reception Nov. 12 at the Keith A. Campbell Library.

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- For many military communities, heroes aren't always the ones on the battlefields - they're often the ones tucking their children into bed, making dinner, teaching history, volunteering at hospitals and inspiring excellence.

That was the message of the Heroes' Tree, a national program sponsored by the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University that honors the service and sacrifice of our military Families.

Individuals were encouraged to hang handmade ornaments with stories and photos of their military heroes on the tree, displayed at the Keith A. Campbell Library.

"The library is often the anchor of a community, and what better place to showcase the champions of the community than at our own library," said Col. Mary Garr, garrison commander, at the Celebrate Our Heroes reception Nov. 12.

More than 100 ornaments and stories adorned Fort Sam Houston's Heroes' Tree throughout the program and reception attendees got the chance to read some of those heroic stories and reflect on their own contributions to the military community.

Robbye Durham, manager of the Keith A. Campbell Memorial Library, hopes to preserve the ornaments and stories in a scrapbook so patrons can view them when they visit the library.

"The Heroes' Tree was a great way for us to reach out and honor our everyday heroes in the community," said Durham. "A hero in the eyes of a child may be very different from a hero in the eyes of an adult and we think they are all deserving of such respect."

Also in attendance was Ester Gates, the mother of library namesake Keith A. Campbell, who was killed in action at age 20 in Vietnam. She told attendees her son would have been very proud of the heroes being honored on the tree and gave a piece of advice to attendees: "Learn to love books and you will never be lonely."

The Heroes' Tree remains on display at the library.

Page last updated Mon November 30th, 2009 at 10:01