By Esther Garcia, Fort Sam Houston Public AffairsFebruary 27, 2009
(FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas) - San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo celebrities took time off from rodeo activities to visit with wounded warriors and their Families at the Warrior and Family Support Center Feb. 18.
Avery Gonzales, Miss Rodeo Texas 2008; Buck Taylor, a former actor who appeared in westerns such as the series Gunsmoke, and films such as Tombstone, Truce, Gettysburg and Jericho; and Leon Coffee, who has been a Rodeo Clown for 29 years with the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, signed autographs and took photos with wounded warriors.
The San Antonio Recruiting Brigade hosted the visitors.
"I love and respect them," said Taylor, referring to the Soldiers.
Jackie Van de Walle, assistant vice president, San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, said, "We have over 5,000 volunteers who contribute their time, talent and money towards running the San Antonio Livestock Expedition to make our show the best."
It is a volunteer organization that emphasizes agriculture and education to develop the youth of Texas."
"The show is more than cowboys, concerts, cotton candy, it is about helping educate the youth," continued Van de Walle.
According to Van de Walle the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo has committed more than $87 million to education with a record $8.5 million committed in 2008.
Also in attendance was retired Army Lt. Col. Ron Benton, 5th Recruiting Brigade Contract Cowboy Recruiter telling the Army's story. Benton served 28 years in the Army.
"I want to express my gratitude to the service men and women for their bravery, courage and service to protect our freedom," said Van de Walle.
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo opened Feb. 5 at the AT&T Center and closed Feb. 21.