Crossroads prepares to welcome veterans (w/video)

Ismael Perez By Ismael Perez

May 18, 2017 at 10 p.m.

An aerial view of the Field of Honor at Parkway Church.

An aerial view of the Field of Honor at Parkway Church.   Russell Fowler for The Victoria Advocate

More than 700 veterans from across the country will be taking over the Crossroads for a weekend of appreciation.

Warrior's Weekend will begin with the welcoming of the defenders of freedom starting about 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Friday at the Field of Honor by Parkway Church, 4802 John Stockbauer Drive.

The weekend will consist of a procession where people can greet the warriors before and after their welcoming ceremony, detailed sand sculptures built in their honor and a day of fishing at Port O'Connor.

"It reminds them that people haven't forgotten about their service and sacrifice," said Ron Kocian, president of Warrior's Weekend.

Although attendance has dropped from last year, Kocian said the veterans event has grown tremendously since its first year.

The first year, 2007, had about 55 wounded warriors who came from the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and returned the same day.

This year's Warrior's Weekend is expected to host about 750 heroes and about 400 family members from across the country, many of whom stay for two days and two nights.

Kocian said he thinks veterans keep coming back because of the heartfelt appreciation they receive throughout the weekend.

"The warriors get a lot of love in Victoria and Port O'Connor," Kocian said. "When you have a lady who has severe PTSD drive herself from the state of Washington, that shows you how much it means to them."

The event started with honoring those who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq but has expanded to veterans who served in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and all previous conflicts.

"Veterans from all backgrounds get to be with like-minded folks who have been to war like them," Kocian said.

He said the event is important because it honors those who have fought for America, and it will inspire others to do the same.

"These are people who are willing to die for you and who volunteered to stand on the wall to keep our enemies from us," Kocian said. "And if we don't honor their sacrifice, who's going to want to serve in the future?"



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