Just in time for the holidays we finished distributing the record-setting proceeds from the fifth annual Pearland Veterans Day Walk. Checks for $3,100 were presented this week to Counseling Connections for Change, a local nonprofit counseling center for their work with veterans and their families in the greater Pearland community, and to Pearland VFW Post 7109.
The VFW in turn presented us with a certificate of appreciation.
Nurse Rosa Klockseim and her team of caring counselors and medical professionals received $3,100 worth of workbooks and self-help materials for the veterans and active duty servicemen and women they care for at army medical facilities in west Texas.
Nearly $2,500 from the Walk was included in HIKE for Mental Health’s annual check to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation to fund break-through research for better understanding and treatment of conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress, anxiety, depression and other brain and behavior disorders. (More on that donation soon.)
These funds were possible only because hundreds of members of the greater Pearland, TX, community came out on Saturday, November 10 for our fifth annual Veterans Day Walk to honor Texas veterans, to celebrate the freedom their bravery has secured for us, and to raise funds for those still battling Post Traumatic Stress.
Volunteers from the Pearland AYLUS chapter, Dobie High School and Dawson High School National Honor Societies, and Meador Staffing braved the early morning darkness and cold winds to set up and run the event with us.
With title sponsor Westside Veterinary Hospital underwriting the full costs of the event, 100% of every other sponsorship, registration fee, donation, and shirt or raffle ticket sale added to total raised for the Walk’s mission. The Walk, now in its fifth year, set new records for the total amounts raised and the number of sponsors.
Angie Infante from Graphic Icons again donated event t-shirts, which featured a striking original patriot design. Angie is also a member of our event planning committee and a multi-year runner in the event.
Sergeant First Class Kim Austin and the U.S. Army’s Pearland recruiting station came out in force with games, food and give-away’s for the Walk participants.
Another popular display was the armored vehicle of the the Special Weapons and And Tactics (SWAT) Unit of the Pearland Police Department.
We also thank Z Ward and K Lemmons of the Pearland Fire Department mobile bicycle unit for helping to keep the walkers safe.
The opening ceremonies were ably emcee’d by Sasha Costa of Media Heroes, and Pearland Mayor Tom Reid read a City proclamation commending the event.
The Pearland High School Junior ROTC under the direction of Sergeant Major Bruce Grant solemnly presented the colors.
Jazz vocalist Traci Cooper led us in a moving rendition of our National Anthem.
U.S. Representative Pete Olson thanked the participants and reminded us all what Veterans Day is about.
We are also grateful for media support from Pearland’s only independently owned and operated newspaper, The Reporter New, and from KHOU’s Great Day Houston.
Leo Walker from HIKE for Mental Health and Skyler Klusendorf from Westside Veterinary Hospital presented the first minted coins from this year’s challenge medals to the winners of the design contest. The contest was held over the summer at The Gathering Place in Alvin, a volunteer-run center that serves the needs of local families affected by dementia, including many veterans. This year’s design contest winners were Mr. Gene Caulkins and the Mrs. Eloise Cruzen, whose award was accepted posthumously by her husband.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who made the event possible, especially the volunteer members of the planning committee, which meets year-round to organize the event. Pictured left to right below are Paul Chimenti, Kim Ross, Danielle Tywater, Tom Kennedy, Angie Infante, and Leo Walker. Not shown are Ron Risdon, Nancy Kozanecki and Lisa Keeling.
We also thank the City of Pearland Parks and Recreation Department for all their help. Special thanks to Resource Development Manager Jason O’Mara who braved the cold and dark to help personally with set-up for the Walk along with dozens of volunteers from local schools and businesses and others from as far away as Idaho.
Gratitude also to Jeff Cardenas and his Boy Scouts again this year for keeping everyone safe and organized in the parking lot during setup and parking.
We also thank the fantastic sponsors whose patriotic support for veterans set a new record for the Walk. Officer Club level sponsors include: Westside Veterinary Hospital, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Compressor International, Graphic Icons, Ascend Performance Materials, Nancy Kozanecki, LyondellBasell, Mercer Insurance Agency, Navy Federal Credit Union, Gulf Coast an Oldcastle Company, and Home Helpers Home Care.
We also thank our Business Brigade sponsors: Commissioner Stacy Adams, Cruz N Carz, Texas Senator Larry Taylor, Judge Lori Rickert, the Wellness Integration Center, Kevin Sweeney, Pearland Hearing Aids & Audiology, Barry Insurance Group, Pearland Police Officers Association, Friends of Ed Thompson PAC, Friends Uncorked, Constable CB Buck Stevens, BAKfish Brewery, Auntie Pasto’s, Prescott Pressure Washing, Judge Greg Hill, and US Congressman Pete Olson.
Finally, thanks for gift card and prize donors: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dream Dinners, Total Wine, Elf on the Shelf, Raising Canes, Seaworld, Panera Bread, Sports Clips, Chik-Fil-A, Movie Studio Grill, Mod Pizza, Kolache Factory, Three Brothers Bakery, Fajita Pete’s, Best Buy, Le Papillon, Six Flags Fiesta, Laurenzo’s El Tiempo Cantina, Pluckers and Taste of Texas. Thank you all!