Military Appreciation Tailgate Celebrates Area Veterans
The Texas A&M University Veteran Resource and Support Center, the Division of Marketing & Communications, Operation Hat Trick (OHT), Academy Sports + Outdoors and ’47 thanked veterans throughout the Brazos Valley with a Military Appreciation Tailgate Saturday ahead of the Texas A&M-South Carolina football game.
More than 100 veterans, their families and friends took part in the event that included food, games and OHT-branded apparel giveaways.
Texas A&M Veteran Resource and Support Center Director Col. Gerry Smith said it is difficult to quantify the value that events like the tailgate add to the lives of student veterans.
“We provide a lot of referrals and services, but the network and bringing the veterans together at events like this helps build that camaraderie and spirit, which is really a lot of these student veterans miss from their life in the military,” Smith said.
Texas A&M first partnered with OHT in 2016 to support its mission to help U.S. service members and veterans heal from the visible and invisible wounds of war, with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Texas A&M-OHT merchandise used to assist them on their road to recovery. In 2017, OHT named Texas A&M the winner of the Excellence in Service Award in recognition of the school’s impact on OHT’s mission.
OHT Founder and CEO Dot Sheehan thanked Texas A&M for its support.
“Operation Hat Trick is honored to partner with Texas A&M, an institution that supports the military and all who serve our country at the highest level. Together we are making a difference in the lives of those service members and veterans recovering from the wounds of war whether they be visible or invisible injuries” she said. “Your support of our merchandise and products allows us to give back to those in need in the local Texas A&M area.”
Academy marketing manager Corey Thomas said the tailgate is one of his favorite events of the year.
“Being able to support an event and an organization such as Operation Hat Trick and Texas A&M University to bring people together and recognize and acknowledge all of the many sacrifices that the veterans and their families have done to keep this country safe is fantastic for us,” Thomas said.
Scott Pierce, ’47 college brand manager, agreed.
“Texas A&M and ’47 have been partners for a long time,” Pierce said. “This year and last year we’ve had Academy involved in this event as well. So, three great partnerships coming together to support our veterans has been wonderful.”