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America Supports You: Troops Take Time Out for Horseplay

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2006 – Wounded servicemembers from Brooke Army Medical Center and their families got the chance to horse around during a recent “Horses for Heroes” event at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.

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Army Staff Sgt. Corey Dabney gets to know one of the horses from the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center in San Antonio on Nov. 18. The equestrian center, in conjunction with Bank of America Military Bank, hosted a "Horses for Heroes" event for Brooke Army Medical Center patients and their families that included horse riding lessons, a cookout and live musical entertainment. Courtesy photo
  

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A joint effort between Team Bank of America and the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center, the Nov. 18 event provided a day of relaxation and fun for about 60 servicemembers and their family members, Kirk Frady, vice president of military affairs for Bank of America Military Bank, said.

“It was a combination of fun, relaxation and therapy and I think we accomplished all three,” he said. “For some, it was their first time ever being on a horse. For others, it brought back fond memories of their riding days prior to sustaining injuries.”

Frady credits Army Lt. Col. Jennifer Junnila, the event’s lead coordinator from the equestrian center, with the Horses for Heroes theme. The day hadn’t always been planned as a joint venture, however.

“Team Bank of America had originally planned a cookout in October, but inclement weather forced us to reschedule,” Frady said. “It just so happened that there was going to be a horse riding event for the wounded troops and their families on Nov. 18th anyway, so we decided to team up with the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center and turn it into one big, fun event.”

Bank of America volunteers provided hamburgers, hotdogs and desert for the servicemembers and their guests. Bank of America also donated prizes for a drawing held during the event. Some of the lucky winners received tickets to a San Antonio Spurs basketball game, free movie passes and other items.

While horse riding lessons and a petting zoo may have been entertainment enough for some, those attending the event also were treated to a free concert. “The Tailpipes,” a self-proclaimed rock and roll garage band, according to the group’s Web site, entertained, and even got some help from the audience. “Some of the troops even got to display their singing talents by joining the group on stage,” Frady said.

“It was just nice to be able to provide a little joy and happiness to those brave troops who have sacrificed so much for our country,” he added. “They truly are American heroes.”

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageA volunteer leads the way as Army Cpt. Scott Leifker gets a lift from one of the horses participating in the "Horses for Heroes" event held on Nov. 18 at the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center in San Antonio. The event for Brooke Army Medical Center patients and their families included horse riding lessons, a cookout and live musical entertainment. Courtesy photo  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageKarin Wiles (left) of Team Bank of America and Army Lt. Col. Jennifer Junnila of the U.S. Army Medical Center and School's Interservice Physician's Assistant Program at Fort Sam Houston make announcements during the Nov. 18"Horses for Heroes" event. The event was held in San Antonio at the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center with Brooke Army Medical Center patients and their families as the guests of honor. Courtesy photo  
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