It was a “Celebration of Love” at the VFW in North Austin this weekend. Volunteers and Veterans came together to help make Christmas special for some children of Fort Hood soldiers.
"The tears that roll down from our military soldiers, the parents, the moms, the dads that come, it's overwhelming with joy, the spirit is so high,” said Tom Ramsey, a volunteer for the program. "When they get there, and they see these bikes, it's powerful. It's extremely exciting. Everyone wants to ride them," he said.
The program started back in 2006 with just 25 bicycles. This year, volunteers put together 300 bikes. "This could be possibly the only toy the only bike our military children are receiving from their families because their fathers are either deployed or they're in their third or fourth tour, so it is essential. Sometimes that's why we bring it so early into Fort Hood so they are prepared, and it relieves that stress of what are we going to get our children,” Ramsey said.
Many veterans came to help. They said it's important to them because it's a situation that's all too familiar.
Justin Myers is one of those vets that came to help, “We love being able to do that for our servicemen overseas, take care of the stuff at home because we've been overseas before. Everybody here at the VFW is a veteran of a combat zone. We've been there. We know what happens at home, at the home station. We want to see people taking care of them who are overseas like they took care of it for us.”
Not only is this program for the kids, it's for their parents as well. “Right now with all this terrorism that's going on, I think it's such a critical time that we show our support and to let them all know we are grateful for their service,” Ramsey said.
The kids will get their bikes, on December 4th. The organization also hands out toys. If you would like to help, the VFW is accepting unwrapped toys until December 2nd.