And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me and I’ll proudly stand next to him to defend her still today, ‘cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA – Lee Greenwood
The 3rd Annual Wounded Warrior Dinner was held on Saturday, May 26, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Austin Hotel on Lady Bird Lake. Founded by the Capitol of Texas Triathlon organizers Rick Margiotta and Brad Davison of R&B Sports, this event honors all men and woman of our armed forces who received debilitating wartime injuries that incurred during their service to our country.
This year, the Wounded Warrior Dinner benefited the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Operation Rebound, a premier sports and fitness program for American military personnel, veterans, and first responders with permanent physical disabilities. 100% of the net proceeds from the Dinner and a Silent Auction will go to Operation Rebound.
The evening began with a VIP Reception on the 17th Floor of the Hyatt Regency, which overlooks the city to the north. The dinner was preceded with the Presentation of the Colors made by a Navy JROTC Color Guard from nearby Georgetown High School
The Welcome and host for the evening festivities was Terri McCormick, Co-Host of “Majic in the Morning” on Majic 95.5 FM radio. Also making a presentation was Lisa Aucoin, Presenting Sponsor Honorary Chair from BAE Systems.
Guest speakers for the dinner included John Register, Paralimpian and United States Olympic Committee Director of Veteran Affairs; Melissa Stockwell, Iraqi War veteran, and 2 time World Paratriathlon Champion; LTC Patty Collins, Commander, 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Ft. Hood, Texas; Mike Warren of KTBC Fox 7 TV (MyFoxAustin); and Nico Marcolongo, Program Manager for Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Operation Rebound.
After the dinner, everyone adjourned to the mezzanine to continue the Silent Auction. Donated items included a football autographed by Mack Brown and the rest of the University of Texas coaching staff; a weekend golf outing and spa treatment; a football signed by Colt McCoy, quarterback for the Cleveland Browns; a U.S. flag carried on a combat mission in Afghanistan by a helicopter medical evacuation (medevac) team; two U.S. Olympic Team watches (one male and one female); and a number of paintings from a collection owned by Alice Glass.
To put this evening’s activities into perspective, here are some thoughts by several Wounded Warriors who are adjusting to their altered lives and their future with themselves and their family: “Did you ever see a Hollywood movie where the actor gets blown up? That’s exactly the way I felt.”… “My 75% is better than most guys’ 100%. And that’s the way I live my life!”… “We shook hands with the ‘Grim Reaper’ and walked away from him.”
These words should inspire all of you to make a donation to the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Operation Rebound, a truly worthy cause.
Sponsors of the 2012 Wounded Warrior Dinner
* BAE Systems, which has offices here in Austin;
* Ultra Electronics who sponsored the VIP Reception, which also has offices here in Austin; and
* AirBorn, with offices in nearby Georgetown, TX.
Members of the Navy JROTC Color Guard
Cadet Master Chief Tyler Soberanes, Cadet Ensign Hayden Manrose, Cadet Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Appice, Cadet Chief Petty Officer Emily Bonnickson, and Cadet Chief Petty Officer Chelsee Koken.