By VIVIAN CONRAD
On March 10, 2003, I wrote these words in my journal: “I admit I’m really struggling with the news Josh gave us today. He’s being deployed to Kuwait, apparently to be a ‘gunner’ for an urban assault team if war breaks out in Iraq. I have no idea what a gunner is, but just the sound of it filled my arms and legs with jelly and my heart flip-flopped. Later I couldn’t even pray beyond repeating ‘Oh, God, oh, God’ over and over. My first coherent thought was that my son was going to die. So I’ve spent the rest of the day grappling with issues of faith, trust and fear… Now the biggest question is – how do I get through tomorrow without becoming weepy every few minutes?”
My youngest son served two successive tours as an Army MP in Iraq. He lost friends and a commanding officer who were killed in explosions and firefights. He was badly injured in a high speed convoy crash, resulting in a medical discharge and years of physical therapy.
Having witnessed the effects of oppressive governments in our years overseas, I was already grateful for the freedom we enjoy as American citizens. But my experience as a wartime military mom made me appreciate more the cost of that freedom. For the duration of U.S. history, our liberties have been purchased with the blood of those who have stood to fight for them.
As we celebrate the anniversary of our national independence, let us remember the sacrifices of our military personnel who put their lives on the line daily, and of the families who have sent them off, not knowing which goodbye might be their last.
At the Senior Center, we are very much aware that only a week remains before our biggest fundraiser of the year. Members of the Taste of Palo Pinto County committee are rolling in high gear to solicit donations for live, silent and brown bag auctions.
One of the most tireless and tenacious of the workers is Michael Franklin, who helped give birth to the whole Taste of Palo Pinto County event four years ago. He has single-handedly made more contacts and brought in bigger sponsors and auction items than almost anyone else on the Board of directors. Co-chairing the fundraiser committee with Ken Johnson, Michael has set the pace for those who will follow in years to come.
Thanks to the hard work of our committee, a record number of sponsors are supporting our event this year. In the 5-Star category, these are Baum-Carlock-Bumgardner Funeral Home, Diamond Pharmacy, First Financial Bank, Ram Country Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Tim Gary and Upham Oil and Gas.
This year’s 4-Star sponsors are Alpine Construction, Goodrum Renovation, Jack Powell Auto Group, Link Field Services, the Mineral Wells Index, Palo Pinto General Hospital, PECO Facet, Progressive Waste Solutions, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance and Titan Bank.
Sponsors at the 3-Star level are Arbor House Weatherford, April Martin State Farm, Century 21 Properties Unlimited, D & D Motor Co., Keg 1 O’Neal, the Mineral Wells Noon Lions Club, Mineral Wells Nursing & Rehab, Palo Pinto Nursing & Rehab, Palo Pinto Thrift and Gift Shop and Phil Luker State Farm.
Our 2-Star sponsors are Palin Bree and Jim Weaver, Judge David and Joyce Nicklas, Phil “Bud” Garrett, Backforty Bunkhouse Productions, Bennett’s Office Supply, Bethany HomeHealth Services, Brazos Animal Hospital, Double H Tire, Expressions Hair Salon, First State Bank, Freeze Carpets, Gene’s World KVCE 1160 AM Radio, Ted’s Cabinet Shop, Texas American Insurers Inc., Waddy Best Value Pharmacy and Weaver’s Print Shop.
The food and drink vendors serving up tasty samples of their best fare in this year’s event are Chili’s, Chubby’s BBQ & Grill, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Golden Chick, Hayes Stateion Coffee, Holliday Hills Country Club, Mineral Wells Senior Center, Mesquite Pit, Natty Flat Smokehouse, Palo Pinto Challenge, Pastafina, Shotgun’s BBQ Restaurant, Tastefully Simple, Taste and See Bakery Treats, the Cellar, and Top Shelf Liquor Warehouse.
We are excited to see so much community involvement in this year’s Taste of Palo Pinto County and are expecting it to be the best event ever. The $40 tickets for the July 15 fundraiser, which will take place from 6-10 p.m. at Holiday Hills Country Club, are available for purchase at the Senior Center, the Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce, and from board members and participants. For information regarding auction item donations or ticket sales, call the center at (940) 325-6470.