The Southwest Region Kare 9 teams accepted the invitation without really knowing what to expect but were truly not disappointed. The evening began with a VIP reception during which four veterans explained their own personal challenge coin experiences. They in turn presented all veterans and attendees with coins designed for the occasion to thank veterans for their service to our country as well as thank attendees for their help with veterans.
Guest speakers included Captain Molly Mae Potter who told of her military training and experiences that resulted in her serving in the Middle East. Upon her return home, she credits her dog Bella with helping her to have the will to reconnect as she overcame obstacles. The Kare 9 teams witnessed the Veteran Service Award being presented to the Honorable Mike Denton. Judge Denton presides over the Travis County Veterans Court. He told of the formation of the special court to help veterans who have difficulties because of alleged crimes, but often also have underlying issues that cause problems with the law.
A very tender part of the evening was the pinning of veterans who served during the Vietnam Era. Three LCC Kare 9 Military Ministry team members were pinned: Chuck Wendt, veteran handler for Kare 9s Phoebe and Pax, and David Layland and Ken Wehmeyer, veteran handlers for Kare 9s Abner and Martha. They also received personal comments as the pinning occurred.
It was a very special time for the veterans assembled as well as those who watched. As the first part of the evening concluded, music and games followed. The Kare 9 teams all agreed they had a wonderful time, met some wonderful people, and were so honored to be included in the evening.