By Ms. Minnie L Jones (IMCOM)December 24, 2009
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Santa and sixty of his elves from around the state of Texas arrived on motorcycles, in a combined effort between the Adopt a Hero for Christmas organization and the American Legion, to visit the Warrior and Family Support Center, Dec. 19 and donate all sorts of goodies and gifts to wounded warriors and their Families.
"Adopt a Hero for Christmas" is the brainchild of "Honda Bob" LeClair from Houston, who began gathering donations for wounded warriors in 2006 after riding with the Patriot Guard Riders and learning about the WFSC.
"I just got a calling in my heart to bring these good men and women and their Families Christmas. So I came home early in 2006 one day, and told my family that we were going to build a sleigh, and we are were going to get some people together and bring some gifts out here, and that is how we started," said LeClair.
This year's fundraisers, a total of three, began in late September culminating with the Saturday before Christmas giveaway at the WFSC.
Motorcyclists traveled from Austin, Dallas, Katy, Houston and other towns throughout Texas, to San Antonio, gathering at the William M. Randolph American Legion, Post 593 in Converse, where they joined ranks with the American Legion Riders.
Then with Santa's red sleigh in tow, and with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus on a motorcycle leading the way, the caravan of motorcyclists traveled their final leg of the journey, down Interstate Highway 35, South to the WFSC.
There they were greeted by WFSC Program Manager Judith Markelz, and more than 200 wounded warriors and their Family members who were eagerly awaiting their arrival. During the event Markelz gave each motorcyclist a WFSC patch to wear on his or her vest or jacket to remember the event and to demonstrate the gratitude of the Center's staff.
Capt. David Buck, Warrior Transition Battalion said, "I thought it was awesome, this year was better than last year. I think the kids were really happy. Brittany, my daughter got a big makeup kit, and my son got two electronic toys, I'm going home to put some batteries in them now - it was really nice."
"The Adopt a Hero for Christmas 2009 event at the Wounded Warrior and Family Support Center was a joyful success. This was the fourth year performing our mission and providing a meaningful Christmas experience for our heroes and their Families. Due to the efforts of our volunteers and our supporters, 78 people participated in delivering $14,500 in gifts and spending the day visiting our Heroes.
"We are proud that our efforts put a smile on the faces of 215 men, women and children at the WFSC. We are honored to have the opportunity to demonstrate our gratitude and appreciation to them for their service and sacrifice, which protects our nation and ensures our freedom," LeClair said.
For more information on the Adopt a Hero for Christmas organization, visit www.AdoptaHeroForChristmas.org.