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Port O’Connor’s 47th Annual Fireworks Show!

Archived in the category: Announcements, Events, General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 18 Jun 15 - 0 Comments

It’s almost here…the largest, most ‘speck’tacular fireworks display on the Gulf Coast! Saturday, July 4th, will be one of Port O’Connor’s busiest days of the year, with visitors arriving from all over Texas to view the most amazing display of lights over the Matagorda Bay. Views are breathtaking, whether seen from the land or from your own boat on the bay. Don Haynes, Fireworks Chairperson, and the Alpha Lee Fireworks crew, will be working hard all day to ensure everything is set up correctly, with safety being his first priority.
Along with not only a fantastic show of fireworks from the end of the pier, there will be craft and food vendors at King Fisher Park from 10:00 am – 9:00 pm. Some of the crafts will include clothing, jewelry, handcrafted pens, personalized rings, purses and logo items. There will be plenty of refreshments available, including snow cones, barbecue, funnel cakes, fried oreo’s, corn dogs and much more. Make sure to get there early, bring your blankets, chairs, sunscreen and spend the day at the beach!! Make it a fun filled family day on the water!! The fireworks show will be again about dusk.

Port O’Connor has hosted this show for 47 years, with this being one of the Chamber’s most featured events. Funds for the fireworks depend solely upon donations from our Chamber members, local business, residents and visitor’s to Port O’Connor. Our goal for this year’s show is $28,000. We need YOUR support to make this happen. Please drop your change in our drop boxes at local business’. You can also remit your contribution through PayPal at www.portoconnorchamber.com, or drop a check at Tigrett Real Estate or mail to the Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 701, POC, TX 77982. Also, like our Facebook page, POC July 4th Fireworks, for updated info.
POC-4TH-JULY-8X11-email

Fire-Dept-Fund-Raiser

Ron Sitka (left) co-owner of TISD.net presents Bill Tigrett of POC Chamber of Commerce with a $1.000.00 “Roman Candle” Sponsorship for the 4th of July Fireworks Show. TISD (TRUE Internet Services) will soon open a Computer Store at 510 N. Virginia in Port Lavaca.

Ron Sitka (left) co-owner of TISD.net presents Bill Tigrett of POC Chamber of Commerce with a $1.000.00 “Roman Candle” Sponsorship for the 4th of July Fireworks Show. TISD (TRUE Internet Services) will soon open a Computer Store at 510 N. Virginia in Port Lavaca.

The Port O’Connor Chamber of Commerce thanks Terry Ruddick of Urban Surveying for being a “Sky Rocket” Sponsor of the 4th of July Fireworks Show.

The Port O’Connor Chamber of Commerce thanks Terry Ruddick of Urban Surveying for being a “Sky Rocket” Sponsor of the 4th of July Fireworks Show.

Melissa Sterling and Crew of the Gulf Coast Title Company for their Sky Rocket Sponsorship for the 4th of July Fireworks Show. From Left To Right: LaVon Garcia, Debbie Baldera, Melissa Sterling, Hannah McMahan, Aysa Villarreal, Wendy Marvin, Jennifer Daniels

Melissa Sterling and Crew of the Gulf Coast Title Company
for their Sky Rocket Sponsorship for the 4th of July Fireworks Show.
From Left To Right: LaVon Garcia, Debbie Baldera, Melissa Sterling, Hannah McMahan, Aysa Villarreal, Wendy Marvin, Jennifer Daniels

 

The High Cost of Heroism by Kelly Gee

Archived in the category: Featured Writers, General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 18 Jun 15 - 0 Comments
Four of the many Veterans who enjoyed visiting Port O’Connor during Warrior’s Weekend.    -Photo by Kelly Gee

Four of the many Veterans who enjoyed visiting Port O’Connor during Warrior’s Weekend. -Photo by Kelly Gee

I have met many young men who have honorably served our country in one branch or another. While helping at Warriors Weekend or as an Army Mom myself, I have seen up close and personal the enormous price many pay for their service. I admire and respect them greatly. But, this is not an article about proud young heroes with their whole lives ahead of them. This is the story of heroism from a different point of view.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with four honorably discharged highly decorated American veterans in their 50’s. What an amazing group! They had more than 88 years of service to the Army and Marines among the four of them. While they would not pinpoint a number, they agreed they held more than 50 commendations, awards and medals each, and a couple held big ones like a Distinguished Service Cross and a Medal of Honor, but they were reticent to talk about those. This group of humble, funny, kind men grew up together in the farmland of Iowa, and have all returned there in retirement from the military. Three of the four work for John Deere Farm Equipment near their childhood homes and corn fields of their youth. Two of the four are still active in the reserves in what they laughingly called ‘old guy positions.’  Each of them had compelling and heart breaking stories of good and bad from their service days. They each had suffered combat injuries that required hospital care but did not end their active duty, as well as field injuries in some very scary circumstances. They had all rescued someone in combat danger, and three had been rescued from sure death themselves. They were dealing with aging issues like most 50 somethings, but theirs were a little different. One has permanent hearing loss from an explosion injury, and all had what they termed ‘to be expected’ hearing loss from their life of duty. Two have long-term ankle pain and damage from service related incidents. There were three hands with altered function at the table, three new knees, a new hip scheduled, multiple back injuries and pain issues, scars and surgeries, PTSD suffered by three but a refusal to let it get them, and other post service issues with plenty of stories, smiles and a few tears as they shared their service narratives.

Four lives, shaped by military service represented so many more lives as well. Five wives, (yes, one was lost to deployment woes and divorced her soldier but remained his friend), eleven natural children, two adopted children, six grandchildren so far, parents and siblings totaling more than 120 lives intertwine with theirs if current statistics are true. Families serve, not individuals! Families are born, shaped and challenged during those years of service. Families drug through training, transfers, combat and deployments, injuries, illness, trauma and pain. Only One of the four ever saw one of their children born, all had missed major life events such as surgery, graduation, childhood firsts, family emergencies, illness and death of parents and siblings and the loss of combat buddies and brothers more than they can or wanted  to remember.

The small group of 4 had served in operations many Americans have never heard of or knew where they occurred. In just a couple of minutes they listed Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Noble Eagle I, II and III, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Joint Guard. Add to those joint ventures, training ops, promotions, refitting and equipment ops, assignments stateside and in countries both friendly and hostile. They have moved more times than they could count, flown to more countries than they could remember and seen more foreign troops than they could recall.

The amazing part of the visit was the pride they showed in their service. Not one of them said a negative thing. They were honored to serve, humble about their awards and commendations, self effacing about the sacrifices made and sincerely happy to have made a difference in our world. The youngest of the four had a few months before he will be fully discharged from active duty service and still said if he were younger he would go back tomorrow. He counts it an honor defend the country he loves and wanted to continue to recruit, train and lead younger men to serve. They all stated they believed they would not be the men they are without their military service. They all expressed a heart of compassion and love for the many soldiers who have sustained life altering injury and deep sympathy for families whose soldiers died in service. A fellow vet invited them to our Warriors Weekend Celebration and this was their second year to attend. They said they have never, ever felt the love and appreciation they feel here. They were so appreciative that they got to be here and actually made it possible for some other veterans to attend this year as well. There were a few tears as they told of some of their experiences at community gatherings. They said they are sometimes treated with disrespect, have been spit on and have had ugly things yelled at them when in uniform. One explained healing from the work of being a soldier is a long process. Warriors Weekend in POC has been a huge positive in the process of healing and finding their place in civilian life for these four. One of them said “I have been a soldier longer than I have been anything else. I served 24+ years. It is the longest relationship of my life because I lost my parents when I was pretty young. I would like to think I did I good job in the most important role of my life.” I think he did a fantastic job myself! I was honored to share time with them. It is with their permission that I share their stories and this picture of them at POC Warriors Weekend 2015!

We were honored to host the 2015 Warrior’s Weekend…

Archived in the category: Events, General Info, Organizations
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 18 Jun 15 - 0 Comments
Britton Braudaway, Captain; Steve Butler, Co-Captain and their two Warriors got 10 nice keepers.

Britton Braudaway, Captain; Steve Butler, Co-Captain and their two Warriors got 10 nice keepers.

Warrior Zach Billingsley with his winning fish. Second and third from left: Veterans Jenna Hughes and Chris Paxton. At left: Jenny Nagelmueller; right: Haley Ray.

Warrior Zach Billingsley with his winning fish. Second and third from left: Veterans Jenna Hughes and Chris Paxton. At left: Jenny Nagelmueller; right: Haley Ray.

 

 

Arriving at Froggie’s Dock for a day of fishing. Saturday, May 16, 2015

Arriving at Froggie’s Dock for a day of fishing.
Saturday, May 16, 2015

Fishing with Capt. Mack Davis (left), Veteran Chris caught this bull red.

Fishing with Capt. Mack Davis (left), Veteran Chris caught this bull red.

Loading up to go fishing. -Carrie Reese

Loading up to go fishing.
-Carrie Reese

Veterans Jason and Andrew having a great time in Port O’Connor!    -Mack Davis

Veterans Jason and Andrew having a great time in Port O’Connor! -Mack Davis

 

Thanks to all who volunteered their boats, fuel, tackle, time and expertise to create a great day of fishing for visiting Warriors!  -Carrie Reese

Thanks to all who volunteered their boats, fuel, tackle, time and expertise to create a great day of fishing for visiting Warriors! -Carrie Reese

A field of Flags honoring our servicemen killed in the War on Terror.   -Mack Davis

A field of Flags honoring our servicemen killed in the War on Terror. -Mack Davis

 

Sand Sculpture honoring all our defenders. -Mack Davis

Sand Sculpture honoring all our defenders.
-Mack Davis

Zach Billingsley from Fort Benning, Alabama won 2nd place for Tagged Oversized Red (just over 27.5 lbs. and 44” long).  He was overjoyed and had a great time touting his fish around the weigh-in and impressing all the on-lookers at Froggie’s.  Jenny Nagelmueller (at left in photo), Haley Ray (at right in photo)  and Jenny’s father, Rick Nagelmueller, were “captains” for the day, hosting some of our Nation’s Heroes on their boat.

Zach Billingsley from Fort Benning, Alabama won 2nd place for Tagged Oversized Red (just over 27.5 lbs. and 44” long). He was overjoyed and had a great time touting his fish around the weigh-in and impressing all the on-lookers at Froggie’s.
Jenny Nagelmueller (at left in photo), Haley Ray (at right in photo) and Jenny’s father, Rick Nagelmueller, were “captains” for the day, hosting some of our Nation’s Heroes on their boat.

 

Warrior’s Weekend IX A Huge Success

Archived in the category: Events, General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 18 Jun 15 - 0 Comments

Despite a deluge of rain that plagued Warrior’s Weekend most of the week leading up to Warrior’s Weekend IX, the skies opened up on Saturday, the day of the tournament and over 900 wounded heroes had a great day on the waters around Port O’Connor.  Once again, the POC folks showed their patriotism and, along with our volunteers, showed the heroes how South Texas feels about their wounded warriors.

There were over 400 boats filled with volunteers waiting for the heroes when it was time to go fishing.  Warrior’s Weekend wishes to thank all of the Calhoun County volunteers, including the POC Community Center folks for allowing us the use of your great facility once again.  You should take pride in the fact that you host the largest event of it’s kind in the world and make it possible for our wounded heroes to have a weekend they won’t soon forget.  Many of them are already asking as to how soon they can sign up for next year.  Once again, the night fishing on Saturday night at The Sanctuary was a big hit with the heroes and their families which was more important than ever this year as we could not allow family members to fish with their loved one on the boats due to the great response from the heroes.  Again, the rain presented a challenge to our planning but we managed to overcome and our guests loved it.

If you were a boat captain this year, please allow us to thank you on behalf of our heroes.  If you were one of the few who did not have a hero on your boat, again, we thank you for being there for them.  As we say, it is more important to have a few boats without heroes than to have heroes without boats.  We hope you all sign up next year  (May 21st) as we experience our 10th anniversary.

A great deal of thanks must also go out to the host families who allowed many of our heroes to stay with you.  Bill Tigrett and his staff do a great service to our heroes by setting this up and we could not host as many as we do without their help.

If you’d like to become involved with Warrior’s Weekend, please go to www.warriorsweekend.org online or send me an email at ron_kocian@hotmail.com.  We also welcome any suggestions/criticisms you may have.  Although we are not perfect, there usually is a reason we do things as we do but are always looking to do it better.  Our largest fundraiser of the year will be held on April 9th in 2016 in Victoria and is quite a night.  If you would like to attend, please let me know early as it has been a sellout each of the six years we have held it.

Again, thanks to all on behalf of our heroes and we look forward to Warrior’s Weekend X.

Ron Kocian, President
Warrior’s Weekend

Warrior’s Weekend Wives and Children

Archived in the category: Events, General Info
Posted by Joyce Rhyne on 18 Jun 15 - 0 Comments

Warriors-wives
As Warrior’s Weekend approaches every year it is for so many a chance to honor, love, support and give back to our wounded military, veterans and their families. The outpouring of support and honor that is shown from the Field of Honor, to the people that line the roads waiting for hours just to get a chance to wave, cheer and say thank you, all the way to the unsurpassable love shown by the Port O’Connor community is beyond compare.

In the midst of it all, one couple decided they wanted to do something for a group of wives and their children. For the past four years, Joy and Charles Fryou, with the help of many other special individuals, have welcomed a group of wives and their children to their island home during the Saturday of Warriors Weekend.
Saturday morning begins with an amazing crew of boats and drivers who eagerly await to carry us to our destination. From beach fun for the kids, to food, and a showering of love and gifts they have made this weekend for many of us so very special.

True patriots, they have expressed their undying gratitude and love for not only our Military but for the spouses and families that stand by them every day. What they have done for our families and humbly continue to do is simply amazing. We are so very blessed and have truly been touched by these very special people in which God has ushered into our lives.
With the love and support of so many people like them and Gods direction and vision, several years ago Warrior Wives, a healing and support group, was birthed. Warrior Wives is a support system for wives and holds monthly group meetings. We also provide an annual retreat held for wives, girlfriends, finances and Gold Star wives of veterans. Please feel free to contact us via our website www.christianwarriorsretreat.org for more information.

We thank Joy and Charles, and Warriors Weekend, for a time of relaxation and refreshment as we go and provide the same for those in our community who so desperately need it.
-Lindsay Green

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