Despite Hurricane Harvey, Pearland and surrounding communities set new records for attendance, sponsors, and net proceeds raised at the 2017 Pearland Veterans Day Walk on November 11.
City, County, State and Federal officials were on hand to kick-off the walk. Perennial supporter Representative Ed Thompson again gave a beautiful invocation and read the State of Texas Proclamation that he and Representative Bonnen sponsored commemorating the event.
Congressman Pete Olson gave a rousing welcome and presented a Certificate of Congressional Recognition to HIKE for Mental Health and the City of Pearland for organizing the event to honor veterans and raise funds for organizations that help those battling PTSD.
Senator Ted Cruz also sent a letter of appreciation for the Veterans Day Walk.
Traci Cooper’s moving rendition of the National Anthem reminded us all of the reason for the event.
The Pearland JROTC, led by Sergeant Major Bruce Grant, again provided the color guard for the walk and represented themselves and their school with honor.
The first minting of this year’s edition of the Pearland Veterans Day Walk limited edition challenge medal was presented to two veterans from the Gathering Place program in Alvin. Their artwork and concepts inspired the design of this year’s coin, which was presented to the first 100 finishers of the walk. Congratulations to design contest winners Mr. Buddy Hughes and Mr. Doyle St. Nicholasy.
The Walk would not be possible without the support of the many volunteers who work throughout the year to plan it, and the many others who show up on the day of the Walk. Special thanks to Kevin Chen and the members of the Pearland chapter of AYLUS, the American Youth Leadership Foundation, who led and directed walkers on the walk route, took pictures, staffed the water and snack booth, and helped out in any way needed. They also donated 3,000 new men’s t-shirts, which will be distributed to patients and residents of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center and VA program that treat both veterans and active duty service men and women facing PTSD and other challenges as a result of their service. Some shirts will also go to Camp Hope via its connection with the Pearland VFW.
Thanks also to Jeff Cardenas and Boy Scout troop 468. They showed up before dawn to help direct traffic, then stuck around until after the walk to clean-up any incidental litter on the walk route.
Connie Heine’s Girls Scouts were on hand again this year to hand out the challenge medals and other prizes at the finish line.
The Marine cadets provided tremendous help with pre-walk set-up, walker check-in, and anything that was needed before setting out on the walk themselves. We also appreciate registration committee lead Lisa Keeling and her family, and veteran and USAF Captain Kim Ross’s help with the registration desk.
Elizabeth Stillion and our honor wall volunteers helped walkers to honor and remember those for whom they walk.
We also thank emcee and veteran Michael Stillion who honored veterans from all branches of the Armed Forces.
Counseling Connections for Change, one of the beneficiaries of the walk, and PAM Rehabilitation Hospital of Clear Lake, a first year major sponsor of the event, set up booths.
Angie Infante of Graphic Designs created the “Pearland Strong” design and again donated the event shirts, and Ron Risdon, Commander at VFW Post 7109, managed the sales desk.
And of course there were all the families, friends, work groups, church groups and others from the greater Pearland community who came out for the walk.
We are so grateful to our sponsors for making the walk possible and helping us to set a new fundraising record. Special thanks for our General-level sponsor, Westside Veterinary Hospital, and to Colonel-level sponsors MHI Compressor Corporation/International, Graphic Icons and PAM Rehabilitation Hospital of Clear Lake.
We also appreciate the after-walk benefits held at Fetching Lab Brewery and BAKfish Brewery to raise awareness and funds for vets with PTSD!
See below for the full list of 2017 sponsors.
The $11,000 we netted from the event will be distributed equally among the Pearland VFW Post 7109, Counseling Connections for Change, the William Beaumont Army Medical Center and VA treatment programs, and program organizer HIKE for Mental Health.
Members of of the 2017 Pearland Veterans Day Walk organizing committee
Paul Chimenti, Angie Infante, Tom Kennedy, Nancy Kozanecki, Ron Risdon, Elizabeth Stillion, Danielle Tywater, and Leo Walker.
Thanks to volunteer photographer Kathy Hickey and the Pearland Reporter News for their support of the walk!