Cowboys, cowgirls and chuck wagons ride in to support heroes
April 1, 2010
By Minnie Jones
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Fort Sam Houston's Cowboys for Heroes celebration marks its fifth year honoring and supporting wounded warriors. The annual event was held March 27 at the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center, where wounded warriors and Family members found themselves in a realistic western-looking campground, surrounded by authentic chuck wagons.
Nine chuck wagons, all members of the American Chuck Wagon Association, came to the event, some dating back a hundred years, to cook up some vittles for wounded warriors, Families members and others. There was a wide variety of meals to choose from, including beef shish-kebobs, pinto beans, biscuits, potatoes and peach cobbler. One chuck wagon served homemade ice cream.
Maj. Gen. Reuben Jones, commander, Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, who was on hand to enjoy the celebration, said "It is great to see the outpouring of support for our heroes from the Fort Sam Houston community. But to see them teamed with the local community and private organizations is fantastic."
Throughout the day, the crowd was treated to live music, gunfight re-enactments and several activities such as mechanical bull rides, "Muttin Bustin," (bronc-riding sheep) and lasso training for kids. More than 200 wounded warriors and Family members attended the festivities.
One of the highlights of the event was the award-winning Charro, Jimmy Diaz, a skilled Mexican Cowboy, who performed rope tricks and fancy horsemanship on traditional Spanish horses.
"I was very pleased with the turnout, my hope was to double the attendance this year, and I believe we did that. We had lots of Families with lots of kids come out. I loved watching all the kids out there swinging ropes and playing cowboy, and the 'Muttin Bustin' was a big hit again, Lots of good music and chuck wagon grub for everyone. The weather was near perfect, all in all, it is a great day to honor our military Families," said J. Aubrey Lenamon, event coordinator for Chuck Wagons for Christ.
Lenamon went on to say, "It was very humbling to get to talk with those that were in recovery and to see what the horrors of war can do to a person. I am amazed at the positive attitudes, they (wounded warriors) have. I talked to one young lady who had lost a leg. She had such a great attitude that it brought tears to my eyes. She wasn't letting a thing like that slow her down. That young lady is going to do well in life. That's a testimony of what great work the Army and MWR are doing here at Fort Sam."
Air Force Master Sgt. Jackie Hutson, a wounded Airman from the 59th Medical Support Squadron, inpatient flight, who was escorted to the event by his uncle, Lewis Trail from Seattle, said, "The food is great, you could tell that the people here, put their hearts in it. MWR tried really hard, this is a well orchestrated event."
"This is a great community event that demonstrates the strong partnership between FSH and the City of San Antonio. The wounded warriors and their Families really enjoyed the events, crafts, the great western foods, and above all, the warm 'Texas Hospitality' that is unique to San Antonio and how they support the U.S. Armed Forces,"said Paul Matthews, director, FMWR.