As I write this article, it is a little under two weeks until some 450+ wounded servicemen and servicewomen descend upon our fair community of Port O’Connor. On May 18-19, these brave men and women will be treated to the big-hearted hospitality of the gracious people of Port O’Connor, Texas, including food, fellowship, fishing, and just plain ole fun.
This is the sixth year our community has proudly participated in the Warrior’s Weekend effort. Mr. Ron Kocian, of Victoria, is the President of the Board. However, Ron, his wife, Sherry, and numerous other volunteers, spend countless hours expending enormous amounts of energy and resources planning and coordinating a thousand and one details just to make this event happen each year. Many of those volunteers live right here in Port O’Connor, cheerfully and faithfully giving of their time, talents and resources each year. From what I’ve witnessed of this organization and its willing participants, theirs is a labor of appreciative dedication, respect, and love for the sacrifices of our valiant service men and women. When this year’s event is all said and done, planning and coordinating begins anew for the next year’s event. And believe it or not, these folks do all of this without pay, literally counting it an honor to have given of themselves to be a blessing to our nation’s wounded warriors. That’s simply the kind of people they are.
In my youth, I served in the United States Air Force between 1969-1973. My career field was in Law Enforcement, which eventually took me to Vietnam. My wife and I had been married a little over a year when I was deployed to Nam. At times, I felt that the stress and separation of being overseas was ripping my heart out. But to be quite honest, my tour of duty in Southeast Asia’s war zone was a piece of cake in comparison to what members of our Army and Marine forces experienced.
One of my police duties, while in Nam, was to guard a hospital ward filled with boys who had recently come from battle-ridden hotspots. I’ve looked into their tearful, troubled, and questioning eyes; I’ve seen their fearful, weary faces; and I’ve listened to their tortured minds, haunted by the horrors of battle. If any group of people needs our respect, compassion, and a listening ear, it’s those who have given the most for our freedom. Freedom is never really free. It always cost somebody something. Some give everything.
I’m proud to be a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m proud to have served my country in the Armed Forces. I’m proud to be an American, and to be a member of the Port O’Connor community, where I have the privilege to participate in this year’s Warrior’s Weekend event. We have the opportunity, via this event, to fulfill in some small way, what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” This means that we need to be willing to relate to both the joys and sorrows of others. We must learn to be others-centered. We must not be so focused on our own problems, that we can’t see the needs and hurts of another. Again, Paul puts it this way: “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Philippians 2:4).
Don’t think for a moment that our efforts during Warrior’s Weekend are meaningless. Here’s what one attendee of a previous Warrior’s Weekend had to say afterward:
I had the honor of attending the Warrior’s Weekend this year and I cannot say enough good things about the event. For the entire time I was there, I was overwhelmed and humbled by the gratitude that was extended to the wounded warriors by all that were present. Literally hundreds of people took time to volunteer their boats, their time, and so much more to ensure that they put on the best weekend possible.
Wounded warriors, regardless of how badly their bodies were damaged, had the chance to briefly forget their disabilities and enjoy a perfect day of fishing, eating, and fellowship with other veterans, as well as a truly patriotic group of Americans that gathered to share the weekend. I will never forget this wonderful experience and cannot thank enough all those that made it possible. You will never know the positive impact you have made in the lives of those you touched during the Warrior’s Weekend. God bless you, our great Country, and the proud men and women who have answered the call to protect Her sovereignty!
Major Kent Solheim
United States Special Forces
It is by the grace and mercy of Almighty God that this nation continues to stand. May God bless the people of Port O’Connor, Texas; and may God bless America!