Campus Life

Texas A&M Awarded For Service To Wounded Combat Veterans

Operation Hat Trick has recognized the university for outstanding service to veterans and their families.
By Lesley Henton, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications May 27, 2021

a graphic that says Operation Hat Trick 2021 Excellence in Service Award
This is the second service award the university has received from the non-profit organization.


Texas A&M University has been named The 2021 Excellence in Service Award winner by Operation Hat Trick (OHT), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting wounded U.S. combat veterans.

OHT officials said the university has shown outstanding effort in aiding the recovery of wounded U.S. combat service members and in its commitment to supporting OHT.

a photo showing Texas A&M-OHT merchandise given to the Kutch family
OHT supports wounded veterans through the sale of branded merchandise.

Billy Smith/Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications

Six other universities were named EIS finalists: the University of Arizona, George Mason University, Utah State University, North Dakota State University, Western Michigan University and Clemson University. OHT is supported by more than 500 universities. Texas A&M has won the award once previously, in 2017.

“I am very proud of what Texas A&M has done, and continues to do, to support Operation Hat Trick and those wounded service members and veterans who are working hard to recover and reclaim their independence,” said Dot Sheehan, founder and CEO of Operation Hat Trick.  “Despite a year of challenges, they have shown not only a commitment to support OHT but also a commitment to support their local community, which is so critical. We at OHT are honored and proud to be their partner.”

Shane Hinckley, vice president of Brand Development at Texas A&M said the recognition is especially meaningful in light of Texas A&M’s storied military tradition.

“It’s been amazing to continue that tradition by partnering with OHT who cares for veterans who have been wounded protecting our freedom,” Hinckley said. “Our team has worked very hard to ensure we are making a difference in our local community and living our core values of selfless service and leadership. We are so grateful for OHT’s partnership and for this incredible recognition.”

As part of the honor, OHT officials said the organization will make a donation on the university’s behalf to Brazos Valley Cares, a local non-profit organization which provides financial aid support to local veterans, their families, and local veteran service organizations.

Karen Allen is a Brazos Valley Cares board member as well as a senior counseling advisor in military admissions in Texas A&M’s Division of Academic Affairs. She said she was thrilled to learn the university was named an OHT service award winner.

“Aggies are the most amazing people and they are front and center with OHT,” she said. “I am elated to know that the funds will go directly to assist student veterans and their families as well as veterans in our community who find themselves temporarily in need, she said, adding that Brazos Valley Cares offers veterans emergency support with its veterans hotline at 979-361-7815.

“Through the 24/7 hotline answered by a real person, we hope to reach any veteran student or community member who might need help,” she said.

Texas A&M offers a variety of services for its more than 4,000 student veterans and their dependents. The university has been ranked consistently as a top university for veterans, including this year’s No. 3 ranking by College Factual.

Kyle Pope, director of Collegiate Licensing and Brand Development at Texas A&M, and the marketing and communications team work closely with OHT staff to carry out many of the events and promotions that are created through the partnership.

“Texas A&M University has a deep appreciation and respect for our nation’s current and former service members,” Pope said. “We are proud to support Operation Hat Trick and its efforts to assist in the recovery of wounded service members and veterans.”

The university has featured OHT at different events over the years, but the pandemic caused such opportunities to dwindle. Pope said the team had to get creative. What resulted late last year was a backyard full of OHT/A&M gear as a surprise for Aggie student veteran Max Kutch.

“Our surprise for one student veteran and his family was such an amazing way to be able to give back – up close and personal – to a servicemember and his family,” Pope said. “It was a great experience for our team to be able to reward them for their dedicated service to our country, and in such a spectacular way.”

Excellence in Service is an OHT program that recognizes universities for their support and demonstrated their commitment to supporting veterans by generating significant sales of branded merchandise and promoting Operation Hat Trick on campus, at retail, in their communities and through their social media, advertising and marketing campaigns.

Visit to shop for OHT/Aggie gear.

About Operation Hat Trick

OHT generates awareness, support and funding for the recovery of America’s wounded service members and veterans. The organization pursues these goals through the sale of OHT branded merchandise, proceeds of which are distributed to selected organizations supporting the OHT mission. Operation Hat Trick is supported by more than 500 universities and colleges, 21 National Hockey League teams, 15 NBA teams, 165 high schools, more than 70 Minor League Baseball teams, and over 80 companies. For more information, to give online or to purchase OHT apparel and merchandise, visit

About Brazos Valley Cares
Brazos Valley Cares is devoted to supporting individuals who have served in the United States military services, and their families, with additional consideration given to the Brazos Valley. For more information, visit

Media contact: Lesley Henton,

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