In the last few weeks, the San Antonio Chamber’s Celebrate America’s Military Committee, in partnership with community members and sponsors, continued the tradition in hosting the longest held series of events celebrating our service men and women nationwide since 1970. This year’s celebration was one of our largest yet and included more than 52 events spanning nearly three weeks, highlighting the selfless service of our brave men and women currently serving in all branches of our military, their families, veterans, and retirees, as well as the community and business members who support them year round.
“It was an honor and a privilege to be part of the Chamber’s 49th annual tribute to our military,” said Steve Cochran, USAA’s AVP, Affinity Operations, Analytics & Development, and the Chamber’s Military Affairs Council Chair. “I got a true appreciation for why San Antonio is called ‘Military City, U.S.A’. It was obvious to me that the business community really appreciates the partnership they enjoy with the military community and vice versa.”
USAA, Silver Eagle, and Wal-Mart have been proud Title Sponsors of the CAM events for many years, and this year many other sponsors came on board to invest in giving back to our military community who provides so much to us locally, statewide, and nationally.
The Chamber was honored to host the Air Force Association Combat Breakfast, the Navy League Breakfast and the 2nd Annual Chili-Cook Off at Kelly Field, as well as the following Chamber signature events:
- The second annual Prayer Breakfast to Honor our Military Chaplains, sponsored by Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio, where active duty Chaplains spoke about their role and calling in the military. Keynote speaker Ron Kirklin, 32-year Army Veteran, spoke of healing from invisible wounds and the power of faith provided by our Chaplains.
- The CAM Tip-Off adaptive sports basketball game at Morgan’s Wonderland, sponsored by Boeing, followed—where we were excited to welcome wounded warriors, caregivers, and families to enjoy a fun game of wheelchair basketball. The Spurs Coyote and Texas A&M University- San Antonio’s mascot, General the Jaguar, entertained the crowd and made a few hoops too!
- The Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Reception, sponsored by Christus Health Plans and Veterans United, welcomed all branches of service and their Senior Enlisted Leaders for an informal networking opportunity with music and good food and beverage.
- The CAM Spirit of America Dinner, hosted by Texas A&M University – San Antonio, is the highlight of our CAM events. This year, keynote speaker Rocky Sickmann, Marine POW from the Iran Hostage Crisis, shared his experiences from his 444 days of captivity and how those memories motivate him to give back to society daily, especially through his role managing the Folds of Honor foundation for Anheuser-Busch. We were joined by four WWII Veterans who also served in the Korean War and Vietnam, along with many wounded warriors and their families.
Brannon Knox, Veterans United Branch Manager and the Chamber’s Senior Enlisted Advisory Committee Chair, said, “It was so awesome getting out in the community and seeing how the Chamber and San Antonio, ‘Military City, USA’, came together and thanked the military for another successful year. So many events with months of planning and orchestrating led by Mary Garr, this year’s CAM Chair and President and CEO of Family Service; Lori Stinson, Vice President of Military Affairs; and the professionals at the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. It would not be possible without year round dedication. Thanks for taking the time to show our military that we care….we do.”
Be sure to visit www.celebrateamericasmilitary.com for information on this year’s events, as well as pictures documenting the celebrations throughout the city. Next year’s CAM in 2020 will be our 50th Anniversary. We will plan to document 50 years of military service in San Antonio, beginning with our roots of honoring our Vietnam Veterans in a special way. If you are interested in hosting an event or in sponsoring events throughout the San Antonio community in November of 2020, please email Lori Stinson, Vice President of Military Affairs and Leadership Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.