Honoring America’s war heroes comes in many forms. From giant ceremonies featuring diplomats and dignitaries to parades and picnics. This school year, Carroll ISD partnered with the non-profit group Wounded Warrior Project to raise awareness and assist injured service members. Working directly with the Wounded Warrior Project’s Major Randy Stillinger, CISD Administration and the School Board were able to give wounded veterans an opportunity to participate in district events in Southlake.
During the football games leading up to the Carroll Dragons recent state title, several soldiers from the Wounded Warrior Project visited Dragon Stadium. Four servicemen attended the Oct. 14, 2011 game against Coppell which was also designated “Military Appreciation Night” and featured special performances by the Dragon Band. Hospital Corpsman Anthony Semprun, Staff Sergeant Johnny Miller, Sergeant Brian Fleming and Lance Corporal Hardy Mills are from North Texas. Carroll ISD Trustee Fred Stovall, Athletic Director Kevin Ozee and Head Football Coach Hal Wasson took the soldiers on a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium, including the field house and locker room. Ozee and Wasson also arranged for the servicemen to speak to the football team and accompany the team captains to the field for the coin toss. The men also received sideline passes and enjoyed a front row seat throughout the game.
According to it’s website, the Wounded Warrior Project was created as military members were returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Through donations, the organization is able to provide support to veterans and help them transition to life off the battlefield.
“The stories of the wounded warriors are incredibly powerful,” said Carroll ISD Trustee Fred Stovall. “Their wounds were truly horrific and the courage and determination that they exemplify to our students is extraordinary.”
Stovall added, “With respect to CISD, I think the opportunity to honor those who indisputably deserve it and provide a direct example of courage and sacrifice to our students.”
Stovall has been involved with the Wounded Warrior Project for several years but this was his first time working directly with the organization to help wounded soldiers.
At a recent School Board meeting, Stillinger gave a short presentation to the board. Speaking on behalf of the veterans who visited Carroll, Stillinger explained the importance of helping veterans return to civilian life. He repeatedly thanked Trustees and Carroll ISD staff for working with the Wounded Warriors Project. The Board also presented plaques of appreciation to Stovall, Ozee and Wasson.
Plans to expand the program within Carroll ISD are in the works; with possibly bringing wounded veterans to additional games next year.