The Apache Operation Lock-N-Load Sporting Clays tournament at Rio Brazos Hunting Preserve in Simonton, Texas raised over $80,000 for the Texas Sentinels Foundation. The hunting community, oilfield companies, local businesses, and American patriots from all walks of society convened on May 19 for an exhilarating day of competitive marksmanship and a tribute to our men and women of the U.S. Military.
The Texas Sentinels Foundation, which provides debt-free housing and other support services to post-9/11 wounded warriors, elected to host the fundraiser to coincide with Armed Forces Day (May 19, 2012).
Over 400 shooters participated in the competitive tournament. Texas Sentinels Foundation sponsored more than 60 wounded warriors and active duty service members.
Guests enjoyed beautiful weather, great food, and day-long activities which included an exciting performance by renowned Beretta exhibition shooter Travis Mears. Dozens of tournament-quality and exotic firearms were awarded to attendees through fundraising raffles.
During mid-afternoon, the crowd was treated to an aerial assault by three WW II-era fighter planes from the West Houston Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force. The planes “strafed” the crowd with low-level fly-bys, complete with a truck-mounted anti-aircraft machine gun firing a deafening barrage of blanks as the aircraft flew across the gathering.
Each of the three tournament flights began with the RE/MAX Skydiving Team jumping into the event pavilion area to present the Texas and American flags as Sergeant First Class Cannon, U.S. Army, Houston Recruiting Command sang the National Anthem.
Event coordinator Corby Callaway from RE/MAX Grand, Texas Sentinels Foundation Executive Officer Susie Barlow and Texas Sentinels Foundation founders Richard and Jeanne Filip (RE/MAX of Texas) each expressed their deep gratitude to all the supporters, contestants, volunteers, and in particular, the sponsors who made the event possible through their financial and in-kind donations and contributions.
Title Sponsor Apache Corporation’s Brian Logan said his company was honored to affiliate with an organization that has committed such effort and resources to providing life-changing support, housing and vocational counseling to deserving veterans and wounded warriors of our Armed Forces.
“A lot of people worked very hard on this, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results of this inaugural event,” said Richard Filip. “Our committee feels that this was a very successful first step, and believe we can grow this into one of the premier tournaments of its kind.”
In a touching moment, Major General Jimmie Jaye Wells bestowed the Honorary Rank and Title of US Army Colonel upon Richard and Jeanne Filip for their work helping wounded warriors through Texas Sentinels Foundation.
Joanne King Herring (portrayed by Julia Roberts in the 2008 hit movie Charlie Wilson’s War) was on hand in a special appearance supporting both active duty and retired Military personnel. Some Houston Texans cheerleaders also stopped by to visit and take photos with guests. And attendees were treated to a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how TV programs are constructed, as the film crew for The Bucket List (a top 5 rated show on The Sportsman Channel) were filming activities throughout the weekend.