San Antonio Post supports wounded warriors by partnering with OFAS
The SAME San Antonio Post is making a difference in the lives of wounded warriors by partnering with Operation Float a Soldier (OFAS), a non-profit organization that supports injured service members and their families by offering them a day of relaxation, adventure and recreation at Lake Canyon, Texas.
On July 28, 2012, the Post hosted an OFAS outing at Lake Canyon. Forty-two Post members volunteered in shifts to organize the event. Tasks included setting up beach and pavilion areas, serving food, cleaning up and assisting wounded warriors and their families. Injured service members enjoyed a Texan-style brisket lunch and participated in water sports including boating, jet skiing and fishing.
Though the lake outing was held in honor of the wounded soldiers, Post volunteers also enjoyed the event, citing it as a great morale booster. “I was quite impressed with the day. The best thing I did with SAME all year,” said San Antonio Post member Don Gleason, Booz Allen Hamilton. According to Chris Scott, Wounded Warrior Coordinator, San Antonio Post, “This was truly a gratifying and rewarding event that galvanized everyone in the Post for a wonderful cause!”
"It’s through the personal commitment of volunteers that OFAS is able to offer our wounded heroes a day of aqua-therapy and receive the public’s gratitude for their personal sacrifice. This event was the biggest we have had this year and the SAME San Antonio Post was amazing to work with" stated Hillary Rabuse, Volunteer Coordinator, OFAS.
Throughout the 2011 calendar year, members of the San Antonio Post volunteered their time and provided financial support to the following activities.
To inspire more robust participation, the Post focused on weaving new activities into its current budget, and identifying current activities into which it could incorporate a Wounded Warrior support activity. Moreover, the Post hard-wired those activities into future budget planning exercises, and established new contact networks with organizations centered on Wounded Warrior support programs.
San Antonio Donates Gift Cards to the Warrior and Family Support Center
At the San Antonio Post’s annual Holiday Gala, guests were asked to donate gift cards of any denomination from department, discount, sports, and grocery stores and restaurants for the Warrior and Family Support Center (WFSC) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The San Antonio Army Medical Center (SAMC) is one of the country’s leading trauma centers and many of the Wounded Warriors receive their medical care at the Center. Due to the seriousness of their injuries, these Wounded Warriors remain at SAMC for an extended period of time, often more than a year.
In December 2008, through the extraordinary generosity of the community, the doors opened to the new 12,500-ft2 WFSC. The WFSC is the only one of its kind, offering a safe environment for military families to reconnect during medical treatment and restart their lives with the full support of the military community. Located across the courtyard from the world-renowned Center for the Intrepid, a hospital and rehabilitation center for soldiers with severe burns or who lost limbs, the WFSC provides a safe environment, away from the hospital, to support our Warriors on their road to recovery. By visiting the WFSC, Wounded Warriors and their family members maintain contact with other military members or extended Family members, receive emotional support and answers to their questions, and extend their rehabilitation. The rehabilitation involves learning to cope with war-related disabilities as individuals, as couples and as families.
Through the generosity of Post members and guests, the event netted gift cards worth $1,745, which will be distributed to the soldiers to help make the holidays brighter for the warrior and their families. Bonnie Hopke, the Holiday Gala Chairperson, presented the gift cards to Judith Markelz, the Director of the Warrior and Family Support Center, after the party.
San Antonio Post participates in Operation Float a Soldier
On 2011, San Antonio Post member Clayton Perry, F-SAME, volunteered his boat and participated in the Operation Float a Solder (OFAS) at Canyon Lake. He was able to take up to 15 wounded warriors and their families on each trip for a tour around the lake. All the participants as well as Clayton had a great time and experience in touring the lake and seeing the sites and features.
Operation Float a Soldier, a nonprofit organization founded by Seth Warnick and Wes Garnett, offers men and women recovering from combat-sustained injuries, and their families, an opportunity to go to Canyon Lake to ride jet skis, go boating, swim and relax in the pavilion with food and live entertainment. "Our mission is to benefit the wounded warriors and families any way we can," Warnick said. "This is just a different part of their healing. We want help them have some fun, and you can tell they are really having a great time."
OFAS started in 2005 when both founders expressed interest in giving back to those who give so much on the battlefield, he said. The program operates solely on volunteer efforts and donations to host biweekly summer events at Canyon Lake. Through donations, OFAS has been able to buy four jet skis, while private boat owners bring their boats for the wounded warriors' use.
At each event, emergency medical technicians and lifeguards are present for participants' safety. Other accommodations, such as a cooled trailer, have also been made for those with special needs. "All you need to sponsor the event is time, 10 to 20 volunteers, and side dishes and desserts," Garnett said. "There is always a need for more people to participate, volunteer and donate." Volunteers work to set up, serve food and clean up after the event; the rest of the time they are welcome to interact with the guests and enjoy themselves.
"What they do here is outstanding," Army Spc. Sergio Lara, BAMC Wounded Warrior and frequent OFAS participant, said. "You can't beat the family bonding time we get here. Everyone really enjoys it. We have so much fun and there is really nothing better than being out here and on the water."
To get involved or make a donation to OFAS, call Wes Garnett at 210-865-5646, Seth Warnick at 210-789-5899 or go to www.floatasoldier.org.