Rally the troops and report to Equest at Texas Horse Park for a fun-filled, USO-style tribute fundraiser benefiting Equest's Hooves for Heroes.
Now in its second year, Boots & Salutes is back for a special evening of tributes to the men and women who have served our country to protect our freedom. Carolyn Anderson will return as chair.
"While far more successful than we had originally projected, it was my first attempt at chairing an event like this," Anderson said about last year's efforts, which drew in more than 350 attendees.
"This year, we not only went “back to the well” of our previous sponsors/donors, we also started early in the year making contact with various companies/donors who have a connection to our military as well as security and defense industries (Northrop Gruman Corporation for example) asking for their support."
This year, a WWII T-6 Texan fly-over will officially kick off the fun-filled, high-energy July 20 celebration under the stars.
William “Billy” Wagasb will emcee this year's event.
"After graduating law school at Pepperdine, 9/11 occurred, (and Wagasb) put his legal career on hold to serve his country and defend our nation," Anderson noted.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, completed his SEAL training, and deployed three times to the Middle East, running hundreds of missions and seeing some of the most brutal combat imaginable. He now channels his experience and passion into addressing crowds across the country.
"I can’t wait for him to connect with our attendees as he weaves personal stories of service and sacrifice into the evening’s objective of raising money for Hooves for Heroes," Anderson said.
Anderson, who was introduced to Equest several years ago, said she also has a special connection to the organization.
"I was drawn to the Equest story immediately, as I have a little sister born with cerebral palsy and so my love and sensitivity for those with special needs is heightened," Anderson said. "As a young girl, my sis attended a summer camp for a few years and her experience there – specifically with equine therapy – helped her to not only develop physically, but the connection she had with the horses and the confidence built riding, helped her to develop emotionally as well."
Today, Anderson said her sister is married and a mother of two.
"She has more courage and perseverance in her little pinky than I have in my whole body! When you ask her about that early experience with equine therapy, she will tell you that the magic that occurs between the horses and people like her living with physical, cognitive and/or emotional disabilities is very, very real."