Vietnam Veterans team up for Warrior Weekend

Some of the U.S. Army Warriors taking part in a doe hunt at Williams Ranch, sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans Association Lone Star Chapter 854, front row, from left, are Sonny Bujnoch; Bailee, Claudia, Stephanie and Don Williams; and back row, from left, are Larry Kupka; Ryan Thompson; Ken Moore; Robert Bartel; McClean Raybon, U.S. Army; wife, Karen and son, Gaige; Mike Fitzgerald, U.S. Army; and Lee, Justin and John Cantu.

The Vietnam Veterans Association Lone Star Chapter 854 sponsored a doe hunt for U.S. Army Warriors at the Williams Ranch, owned by Don and Claudia Williams. The local chapter received warriors Nov. 15 and put them up for the weekend at the Hotel Texas, donated by Bill Jones, owner, with J.W. and Pat Williams.

Before dawn Saturday morning, Ken Moore and Ryan Thompson from Brookshire Brothers brought breakfast to the warriors and the Lee Cantu family who purchased the hunt at the Warrior Muster last March.

As the hunters were taken to their stands, Brookshire Brothers store director Ken Moore and produce manager Ryan Thompson went to work firing up the pit to start an all-day cooking event for the hunters. Later in the day, they were relieved by meat manager Sonny Bujnoch, with Vietnam Veterans Robert Bartel, Larry Kupka and Jimmy Parr helping with the cleaning and dressing of the deer harvested by the hunters.

The weather was perfect and the hunting was great. The Lavaca County Game Warden Kerry Peterson came by to meet everyone and visited with the warriors. Peterson said, "It is an honor to visit and talk to these young men who are fighting for our freedom. What a pleasure they are to be around."

All the hunters got a deer and were very pleased to see this kind of caring from the public and help from the Vietnam Veterans of Chapter 854 and the support they give to their generation.

Don Williams, president of VVA Chapter 854 said, "It is such a privilege to do for these warriors. Just the smiles and laughter - to forget the experiences they had for a couple of days is the best rehab they could experience. They feel a part of our family when they leave, knowing their hearts were filled with joy, laughter and relaxation. As their generation feels, as I have said, "all" veterans took the same oath; that makes us all brothers and sisters."

The meal Saturday night, consisting of brisket, sausage, beans, potato salad, banana pudding and a variety of drinks, was prepared with much care and love. All gathered at a camp fire surrounded by red, white and blue lighting to honor the troops. Much fellowship and friendship was enjoyed by the 20 to 25 people who were there to enjoy the party.

Don and Claudia Williams would like to thank Brookshire Brothers, Hotel Texas, Game Warden Kerry Peterson, the Vietnam Veterans of Vietnam Veterans Association Lone Star Chapter 854 and Stephanie and Bailee Williams for helping make this such a success and the friends who came out to meet and greet these warriors, as they are the ones who helped keep our freedoms in tact.