We Stand United: Veterans Pitching In To Help One Another

The Wood County, Texas community wants to support its own, and it does.

From the emotional needs of its veterans to providing for the education and welfare of families left behind after a veteran is injured or killed, to rent assistance, housing renovations, spiritual counseling, or physical comfort, Wood County has tons of resources to ensure that veterans or first responders and their families are holistically taken care of.

Just in May alone, Wood County held many events for veterans, first responders, and their families. The main event, however, was none other than the Patriot Sporting Challenge, the well-loved and well-attended event that has been held in the area for 7 years.

While everyone pitches in to help with this blowout event, the Patriot Sporting Challenge was founded by Chuck Roy and Garry Schnabel, an ex-vet who initiated the project in 2017.

“My call to duty has been to do this, and it’s because a lot of my friends never made it back from Vietnam. I was the lucky one,” said Schnabel. “By supporting these families, by helping to educate their legacies, we can reduce much of that stress and help secure a better future for the families of these heroes.”

Over its nearly eight years of serving the Wood County, Texas community, the Patriot Sporting Challenge has raised over $500,000 to provide a good education for the families and children of veterans who have given their all.

The opportunity, which is called “A Tale of Two Quilts,” stems from two ex-vets, “The Combat Quilter” and “The Quilting Marine.” Both struggle with service-related PTSD, and had “tried many different ways to find comfort” from their post-traumatic stress disorder. However, nothing had given them full relief – that is, until quilting came along.

“After several evenings sewing with these fine gentleman, i [sic] completed my first quilt. I awarded my first Quilt of Valor to a 93 year old WWII veteran; which caused me to feel real, raw emotion; the first time truly feeling something after returning home. I became addicted to being able to feel something; other than anger and frustration. I then became committed to the cause, and since then, have awarded 219 Quilts of Valor,” writes the Combat Quilter on his website.

According to the Quilts of Valor website, a Quilt of Valor is a handmade quilt which is awarded to a service member or veteran in thanks for their service.

The Quilting Marine, too, had served his country and struggled with PTSD before joining a male quilting group and finding some peace through the hobby.

Through the quilting community, says Christine Thomas, who is a board member for 2024’s Patriot Sporting Challenge, the two found one another.

Now good friends, the two quilters have joined forces to benefit the Patriot Sporting Challenge, and, by extension, the Wood County, Texas veteran community and beyond: they created two quilts together, sending pieces back and forth to be added to the two completed quilts.

One was auctioned online to benefit the Patriot Sporting Challenge, Heroes Ranch and TheyGotYour6 (all veteran-based holistic resources), and the other will be presented to a child of a fallen USMC serviceman.

Meanwhile, Amy Voss, an artist from Dallas, TX works to benefit veterans, also donated something of great value and meaning: a self-designed, glass-decorated guitar.

Voss, whose unique art has become known worldwide for its unusual medium – colored glass on acoustic guitars – has designed the “Harmony of Valor,” a “captivating glass guitar sculpture designed exclusively for the distinguished Patriot Sporting Challenge.”

“Each shard of glass in ‘Harmony of Valor’ reflects the vibrant hues of patriotism and camaraderie, telling a story of honor and sacrifice, resilience, and resolve,” says a Wood County press release about the beautiful art piece. “As light dances across its shimmering surface, casting a kaleidoscope of colors, ‘Harmony of Valor’ invites viewers to experience the beauty and strength of unity.”

Voss’ work has been placed in museums, private homes, hotels, restaurants and more, even going so far as to be featured in singer Katy Perry’s home and displayed in Nashville. Recently, her work was featured during the Bassmaster Elite Tournament at Lake Fork. One glass guitar was given away to the winner of the tournament, while another was presented to country music legend Neal McCoy for his performance at the event.

Whether you’re a veteran or first responder, a family member, a neighbor, a friend, or even just a heartfelt individual, it is incredibly easy to “Stand United” with those who served you. A Tale of Two Quilts came from veterans, and is for veterans. The Harmony of Valor pictures veterans, and goes to benefit veterans. The Patriot Sporting Challenge is for everyone, and not only is a great time for all, but goes to support veterans. The Folds of Honor, Heroes Ranch, TheyGotYour6… the list of veterans’ resources in Wood County, Texas goes on and on.

All organizations involved are volunteer-based. No one is receiving a profit from ticket sales, auction items, or anything else: only your local veterans in are being helped. Next year you can pitch in some love and Stand United with these veterans.

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