Thursday, April 14, 2011

Warrior's Weekend Muster 2011

The 2011 Warrior's Weekend Muster was held on April 1. This is an annual fundraiser that supports an amazing organization, Warrior's Weekend. WW began 5 years ago, intending to be an annual fishing trip for wounded soldiers (and their families) out of Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. It has become so much more than a once-a-year trip. My dad, Ron Kocian, is the President/Founder of Warriors Weekend and travels year round to different army posts, and different cities. He recruits soldiers to enjoy the fishing trip, as well as the donors to make it happen. I can't put into words what it has been like for me to watch my dad, step-mom Sherry, and now my brother Ron sacrifice so much to make sure these soldiers feel loved and appreciated.
On May 21, 2011, soldiers from all over the country, will travel to Port O'Connor, Texas, to enjoy a weekend of fishing. That makes it sound so simple. Too simple. They may catch that big redfish, but they gain love, appreciation, self confidence, and just knowing that the American public supports them. There is nothing like seeing these brave men and women -and their amazing families - finally feel truly, truly appreciated. The wars are long, and we are seeing less and less media addressing those that are risking their lives, and especially those that are giving all. Warrior's Weekend will not let these soldiers be forgotten.
The Muster is an event to raise money for the organization as a whole. Besides the fishing trip, WW donates to soldiers all year long. The Muster includes a raffle, auction, silent auction, and dinner. There are also sadly several "Gold Star" tables set for the families of soldiers lost. They are especially honored at the Muster. This was heart-wrenching. There are no words.
If you would like to get involved (it takes SO many volunteers and a lot of money), visit the Warrior's Weekend website for more information. I highly recommend traveling to Port O'Connor to show your support. It'll change your life!
There was a huge, beautiful flag outside the event~Sold out!
Me and my dad :)
I wish I had gotten a big family picture, next time I will!
This is my dad's oldest sister, Patsy. I love getting to see her-maybe especially because she looks SO much like my Grandma Kocian. I miss her so.
This is one of the little pups that went up for auction. Such a cutie! My cousin, Jessica Zak donates the puppies every year.
Remember this picture? This is the Kissing Sailor. This picture was taken in NYC on V-J day in 1945.
Here he is now!
I even got him to kiss my dad :)
(the teal shirt in the back is my brother, Ron)
Here is a view from the stage, where Matt and I got to help with the auction. This picture doesn't capture the size of the crowd. It was so great!
This is Col. Petrash in the red, who works with the Field of Honor. Hundreds of flags will fly in Victoria in honor of our soldiers. You can actually purchase flags in honor of your soldier(s) by clicking here.
In the deep front, wearing a WW white Heroes shirt is SSG Shilo Harris. My favorite part of the evening was hearing he and his wife tell their story. I think every American should hear it. He loves Warriors Weekend and believes in the WW mission.
This is another WW 2 vet that I had the chance to meet. The second I asked to hug him, he began to tell his story. Sometimes a soldier just needs to be heard. He told me that he flew one of the first airplanes into Victoria in 1947.
I love to see these older soldiers salute.

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