COPPERAS COVE — As the sister of a wounded warrior, Carolyn Roberts said she was happy to see there are people willing to go out of their way to say they appreciate soldiers’ sacrifice.
“I’m glad, because they served their time over there and they need something to enjoy life now,” she said during Friday afternoon’s wounded warrior event, which drew more than 1,500 members of the Warrior Transition Brigade, their caregivers at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center and their families together.
Held at Camp Triumph in Copperas Cove, the family day was the sixth and final event of this fiscal year hosted by the Red Cross and funded through a partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project. It was also the largest, said Mary Basiliere, station manager for the Fort Hood Red Cross.
“It’s a great opportunity for us, especially since we’re partnering with another agency to put this on,” she said. “No one agency can meet the need.”
Families and soldiers enjoyed games, a splash pad, face painting, a caricature artist, adaptive sports and food. A commander’s cup competition also allowed for competition among the sports offered, including wheelchair basketball, ladder golf and football.
“This event gives the soldiers, families and medical caregivers a time to forget what’s going on in the world and enjoy their day,” said Laura Read, one of the 50 Red Cross volunteers helping with the event. “It’s all at no cost. It’s hard to find a place to eat and play games and not spend a fortune.”
Basiliere said it was important when planning the event to take care of everyone — the wounded warriors and those that support them at home and at the hospital.
Col. Patricia Darnauer, commander of Darnall, said this was a tremendous opportunity for two organizations that both fall under the hospital’s leadership to come together.
“Over the course of the solider-in-transition process, they build a relationship with their caregivers. For the Red Cross to come in and enable us to come together for a fun day has been absolutely tremendous,” she said.
She also said the event had no effect on the care provided through Darnall facilities Friday.
Sgt. Thomas Walter, of the Warrior Transition Brigade, said he spent most of the day racing the go-carts.
“It was definitely a good opportunity to relax with all my battle buddies from the WTB,” he said.
Spc. Vincent Ortiz, also of the brigade, agreed.
“Props to them. It’s really hard to organize something like this and we 100 percent appreciate it,” he said.