Your San Antonio Chamber of Commerce was honored to organize the 47th year of Celebrate America’s Military events beginning on November 1 and continuing on through November 18. CAM was founded in 1970 when our military needed us the most, and your Chamber has sustained this legacy thanks to our dedicated volunteers and our member organizations who understand the importance of thanking our military family. We are humbled by the support we receive from our many sponsors, with special thanks to our Presenting sponsors: USAA, Silver Eagle, and WalMart.
This year’s CAM began with the “CAM Tip-Off Opening Ceremony,” an exhibition basketball game hosted at Morgan’s Wonderland and presented by The Boeing Company. The exhibition game included players from Boeing, First Command, Marriott San Antonio Northwest and USAA, as well as Active Duty and Retired military service members playing alongside skilled parasports athletes, including Civilian and Wounded Warriors. This unique event celebrated the spirit and resiliency of those wounded in military service and of civilians who also face daunting physical challenges – but who all demonstrate the undying spirit to overcome and succeed. (See pictures from this event.)
The next event was our annual Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) Reception, held in honor of the members of San Antonio’s senior enlisted service and hosted at the oldest VFW Post on the San Antonio River – VFW Post 76. The Chamber and our members recognize the critical roles that SNCO’s play in the readiness, morale and success of our nation’s military.
We also enjoyed an awe-inspiring Air Show and Open House with the Thunderbirds and several other great civilian and military acts and performers out at the Port San Antonio, Kelly Field. The Chamber was honored to host the Distinguished Visitor and Thunderbird Tent for Joint Base San Antonio and welcomed more than 750 attendees each day, which included special guests of the area Military leadership as well as Chamber business leaders and their families.
On Monday, November 6, the Chamber once again teamed up with our PGA Tour’s Birdies for the Brave charity and organized a field of golfers that included Civilian Chamber Business Members and Active Duty Military Service Members. TPC San Antonio partnered with us to make sure this was a great event! We even had a first-ever hole-in-one winner, with special thanks to Ken Bachelor Cadillac. (See pictures from this event.)
Finally, we rounded out our Chamber-sponsored events with the most patriotic event of CAM, our Spirit of America Dinner, where we saluted the men and women in uniform, past and present. We welcomed nearly 500 attendees and our special guests, which included members of the Gold Star Families, Wives, Mothers, and Dads, as well as representatives from Operation Homefront. Walmart greeted the attendees with some great news – since Memorial Day 2013, they’ve hired more than 188,000 Veterans nationwide and more than 23,000 in Texas, and Walmart and the Walmart Foundation granted $500,000 to San Antonio based Operation Homefront for their Critical Financial Assistance program helping military families challenged during the recent hurricanes. Our keynote speaker was Taya Kyle, wife of the late U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, American Wife. Taya serves as the Executive Director of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. The Foundation continues Chris Kyle’s legacy and sets itself apart by serving first responder and military marriages. Taya’s presentation on her faith and ability to overcome the challenges of military life and sacrifices was inspiring and motivational to all who attended. (See pictures from this event.)
Be sure to let us know if you are interested in sponsoring next year’s CAM, and visit www.celebrateamericasmilitary.com to see all of the other opportunities where our military members were able to connect with our great San Antonio community. We look forward to a few more events to round out CAM 2017 and hope to see even greater events in 2018, the Tricentennial Celebration of CAM!