H-E-B officials in Killeen served up apple pie, ice cream and a $50,000 donation to the Texas War Memorial Foundation at the newly opened store on Stan Schlueter Loop on Saturday. The donation was in support of the memorial’s monument, “The Price of Liberty.”

H-E-B was presented with a replica of the monument.

Retired Army Col. James Stryker, of Tomball near Houston, had a vision after attending deployment ceremonies and military funerals. He said he felt something needed to be done to honor the families of service members.

Stryker said after serving in the Vietnam War, he visited a monument and it helped him close the door and move on with life.

“I said I will build a monument that will help this generation close the door and move on,” he said.

Stryker said it is very difficult to move on and he wanted this monument to be one that honors what the families go through.

The monument, which depicts a service member and family that is departing due to deployment, will be installed at the State Capitol on Dec. 2. Stryker said it is the only monument on the state capitol’s grounds that is fully funded by donors.

The ceremony featured 1st Cavalry Division band members, a presentation of colors by the Audie Murphy Club of Fort Hood and speeches by Stryker and retired Army Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch.

Lynch has assisted H-E-B with their program, Operation Appreciation, and has seen them build 12 houses for wounded warriors, and support many organizations that serve the military and their families.

“They are so caring, so compassionate and they are concerned about our Texas military families,” Lynch said Saturday at the event.

Since the inception of the military appreciation program, H-E-B has hired more than 4,479 veterans or service members, mailed over 1,000 care packages to deployed service members during the holidays and the company continues to partner with the community to host events for veterans.

Lynch said he is excited to see the monument installed in Austin because in the years after the event, families passing by will have the chance to pause and reflect on the true price of freedom.

“The true price of liberty, which is seen in the eyes of the children and their spouses,” Lynch said.

To view the Living Memorial and to learn more, go to www.texaswarmemorial.com

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