Cougars help in charity event
UH’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corp participated in a Homes for Our Troops charity event Friday and Saturday to provide recreation and raise money for wounded warriors in a non-profit organization.
Recreational events included sporting clays shooting, helicopter rides, battle re-enactments, military equipment displays and war dog demonstrations.
Buck Collins, who served for 24 years in the Special Forces, found solace in coming to support his fellow wounded warriors.
“I’m with the Jasper Wounded Warrior Association,” Collins said.
“I was wounded over in Iraq, and we’ve all been wounded in Iraq and in Afghanistan… and we’re happy to come out here and be here.
“Now’s our time when we can give support to our brothers and sisters in need.”
One of the services Homes For Our Troops provides is raising money to build specially adapted homes for wounded veterans.
“We have some very close friends that are very severely handicapped,” Collins said.
“And for them to get homes and be a part of those homes, especially at the vast costs we’ve seen… It’s a great thing.”
Each home costs approximately $350,000 to be totally adapted, said Ken Clifton, a Vietnam veteran.
Halls and doors have to be widened, roll in showers need to be installed, and carpet has to be replaced with other flooring.
“The government should be doing this, instead of us having to chase people and beg for money,” Clifton said.
“It’s like the house at Brooks Army Medical Center, (the Patriot Guard Riders) raise money every year to buy amenities for the wounded warriors. The military gives them housing, but it doesn’t give them anything else, and a lot of (them) need constant care.”
The charity raised close to $900,000, falling short of its $1 million goal for the weekend, but Clifton said that the event was worth it and means a lot to the veterans.
“For every penny raised out here, there’s more money toward the homes of wounded warriors,” Clifton said.
“And if you talk to any of them, you’ll never see nothing but a smile on their faces. Just seeing people out here participating to raise money for them makes their spirits soar.”