Press Article – October 9, 2019
A Day of Smiles for Legacy Star Kids (By Jim Rogers)
“Getting the smile from the kid is the main goal. When you see them smile when they have made a good shot with the bow, it is all worth it,” said Steven Stuckey, a member of Army Buck Hunters and skilled hunting instructor with Trinity Oaks, one of many participating in the Patriot Sporting Challenge Legacy Day, Saturday, October 5th at The Links at Land’s End. The PSC Legacy Day was designed to provide a meaningful experience in the lives of the children by providing a day of outdoor skills development.
Patriot Sporting Challenge joined forces with Trinity Oaks, Army Buck Hunters, Army Bass Anglers, and The Links at Land’s End golf pros to provide a fun-filled outdoor experience for 18 Gold Star and Star Kids. Gold Star children are survivors whose mothers or fathers were killed or died while serving in the United States military. Star Kids are youth who have lost a first responder parent in law enforcement, as a fireman, or other first responder. The Gold Star and Star Kids participated in golf, fishing, and shooting bow and arrow and air rifles. Parents or guardians and mentors accompanied the youth ages 10 to 17 during the day’s events.
“This is an educational day, not in a school, book-learning way, but as an education in the value of the great outdoors, said Garry Schnabel, Executive Director of PSC. He continued, “Many have said that having a meaningful day in the outdoors is fundamentally as important as a day in the classroom. It, too, can be a life-changing experience developing important everyday personal strengths. Experiencing the outdoors gives all of us an opportunity to learn about respecting nature and to build character and sportsmanship skills. It teaches us how to be self-confident and learn how to win and lose with grace.” He said, “Providing the day for Star Kids is a way to honor our heroes who deserve our gratitude for all the sacrifices made in protecting our freedom and in providing us with a safe place to live.”
One of the mentors’ present was a grandfather of three of the Star Kids present. A retired highway patrolman, he had moved to the community near Houston where the children and their mother live. His move came following the death of the father of the children who died in the line of duty as a Texas highway patrolman.
PSC Legacy Day began at 7:30 a.m. with an assemble-your-own breakfast burrito provided by The Links at Land’s End staff. During registration, Star-Kids were divided into groups to participate in the day’s activities of Fishing, Golfing, and Shooting Bow and Air Rifle. Also, during registration, the Star-Kids received a backpack filled with a variety of items useful in the out of doors. They also received a casting rod and reel along with a t-shirt, cap, and sunglasses. All the items in the backpack were presented by the sponsors of the event. Trinity Oaks also provided a drawstring bag with various items. Following singing of the National Anthem and prayer, Star Kids participated in the full day of various activities and ended the day at 4 p.m. with nachos and tacos prepared and provided by staff at The Links at Land’s End. Lunch—hot dogs and hamburgers—was provided by the City of Quitman and prepared by Mayor Randy Dunn, former mayor and current Alderman J. R. Evans, Alderman Susan Resnik, and Rodney Kieke, city secretary/administrator. Events of the day were captured in photos by Wende Holland of Wende Ann Photography.
“My dad always took me hunting,” said Mark Lotre with Trinity Oaks and Army Buck Hunters. He said he enjoys passing on what he knows, what he likes, and teaching youth not only the right way to hunt and fish but also the ethics and safety in both. “We’re getting kids outside, off computers, from in front of the TV, and back to how it should be,” said Lotre. He said the most important thing is that the youth learn safety including how to hold the bow correctly and how to shoot both bow and gun correctly. Lotre, from the San Antonio area, has worked with Trinity Oaks for two years doing H20 events in that area. During that time Trinity Oaks has worked with over 500 kids teaching them outdoor skills. This is his first time into East Texas but said it would not be his last. Lotre and others with Trinity Oaks were impressed with the well-orchestrated day for the kids.
Sam Scroggins, a PSC board member, spent much of his day at the bow and gun range. He said he saw nothing but smiles and skill development taking place. He said, “Army Buck Hunters did an amazing job of keeping the youngsters interested and active. Their set up was perfect.” The archery range included not only archery circular targets, but also 3-D targets of bear, deer, fish, wolf, and wild hog.
James Hauke, Coordinator of the Star Kids program for Trinity Oaks, said Trinity Oaks is a multifaceted program that includes Star Kids and Gold Star kids as well as veteran’s hunts, hunting and fishing programs for terminally ill men, women and children. He said Trinity Oaks also has donated over 100,000 lbs. of processed game to homeless shelters, food banks, soup kitchens, and church pantries. Trinity Oaks (trinityoaks.org) was founded by Tom Snyder, who was also present at the PSC Legacy Day.
Army Bass Anglers not only provided techniques for fishing but also the kids were treated to a hair-on-fire ride in a tournament qualified bass boat. Fishing off a boat dock at the home of a resident at Land’s End, the youth caught a variety of fish include catfish and bass as well as turtles. Bill Kainer, PSC board member, and neighbor Dusty Weaver had insured the probability of fish with prior feeding of the fish off the dock several days before the event. The serenity of the fishing was interrupted by the sound of five Army Bass Angler boats speeding through the water.
The Links at Land’s End golf pros Susan Johnson, Rich Schmelz, and Huy Nguyen provided instruction in driving and putting on the practice area near the Club House. Nguyen constructed a putting contest on the green which was describes as an “absolute ball” as the kids competed. The golf pros created a lot of new potential golfers for the future despite the heat, especially in the afternoon.
Supporting Sponsors for the event included: Skeeter Performance Fishing Boats, Lew’s, Strike King, Stone River Gear, Wende Ann Photography, Wiley X, City of Quitman, Hero Clean, Dermatone Sunscreen and Skin Protection, BugBand, The Lakes of Wood County, The Links at Lands End, Scenic 515 Cabins, East Texas Veterans Alliance, and The Community Chronicle.
Star Kid Sponsors for the event included: Medal Sponsors: John and Bonnie Strauss Foundation; Peoples Communication; Skeeter Boats; and Beaumont Products. Sponsorship 3 Star Kids: Yantis Federal Credit Union; Cody Roberson, ABA; Cole Brewer, ABA; Tom & Debby Keenan; Bill & Susan Casner; Seth’s Lake Fork Creek Restaurant; and Fisherman’s Cove, Scott Everett. Sponsorship 2 Star Kids: Wood County Electric Cooperative; Potts Gas Company; Signature Properties; Burnett Construction, Inc.; David & Mary Lou Hoover; Scenic 515 Cabins; Jeff & Kathy Scheumack; and Brad & Dawn McCampbell. Sponsorship 1 Star Kid: Hooten’s Hardware; The Shooting Diva; Garry & Nancy Schabel; and Jack and Marilyn Robinson.
Press Release – June 2019
Open Invitation to StarKids
Lake Fork Texas – In 2017, a South-Central Texas non-profit organization called Trinity Oaks developed the StarKids Program to bring the children of fallen combat veterans and first responders together in small groups to participate in outdoors activities. Trinity Oaks strongly believes that time spent in the outdoors by a grieving youngster with likeminded peers is extremely valuable in aiding the healing process. The results of the StarKids Program thus far have proven this to be true.
Independently, but near the time the StarKids Program was being developed, the Northeast Texas non-profit organization, Patriot Sporting Challenge (PSC), was formed to provide educational opportunities for the offspring of fallen veterans and first responders. To that end PSC teamed with other nationally-known non-profits and sponsors in 2017 and 2018 to generate substantial scholarship funding for the children of lost military veterans through the highly respected Folds of Honor Foundation.
Trinity Oaks and PSC have been very successful in their separate ventures, and because both have common interests in expanding their support for the legacies of fallen heroes, they have joined forces for a special outdoors event for the StarKids of Northeast Texas. The event, PSC Legacy Day, will be held from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at the Links at Land’s End golf course located on Lake Fork. PSC Legacy Day is open to all qualified StarKids, ages 10-18.
During PSC Legacy Day, the StarKids, along with a mentor of their families choosing, will be able to participate in golf, fishing, archery, and air rifle training. Golf will be taught by instructors from the Land’s End Golf Course. Lake Fork fishing will be hosted by the Army Bass Anglers (ABA) organization. ABA Professional Anglers will assist the StarKids in developing their fishing skills and each youngster will have an opportunity to ride with an ABA Pro Angler on a tournament fishing boat. Archery and air rifle training and safety instruction will be overseen by skilled instructors from Army Buck Hunters.
Other than travel expenses to Lake Fork, everything the StarKids need for their fun-filled day will be provided at no cost to the StarKids, their families, or their mentors. All participants will be provided with lunch, and the StarKids will be able to keep valuable mementoes of their day. Representatives from Folds of Honor and Trinity Oaks will also be available to discuss their respective programs.
While it is recommended that each StarKid be accompanied by a family-chosen mentor, parents or guardians are also welcome to attend. Because this is a full-day event, those who are traveling significant distances to Lake Fork may wish to come a day early or stay over until Sunday. There are a limited number of rooms available on and around Lake Fork for those arriving early or staying late.
In 2019, the participation in this this unique outdoor experience is capped at forty (40) Starkids. If you are the family of a fallen veteran or first-responder with a child or children ages 10-18, or if you know of such a family, please contact Trinity Oaks’ James Hauke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979-229-8713. James will link you with a PSC Legacy Day event leader to assist with registration or other details.
If you wish to sponsor a StarKid or support the event financially, contact the PSC Board at 817-296-8985.
Additional information on the Patriot Sporting Challenge organization and PSC Legacy Day can be found at www.patriotsportingchallenge.org. Information on the Trinity Oaks, Army Bass Anglers, Army Buck Hunters, and Folds of Honor organizations can be found on their respective web sites.
Press Release – January 2019
The Patriot Sporting Challenge and Trinity Oaks Partner for Greater Good
Lake Fork Texas－The Patriot Sporting Challenge (PSC) headquartered in Yantis Texas and Trinity Oaks of San Antonio recently announced an agreement in principle to expand their combined spheres of benevolent impact to the Northeast Texas region.
Predicated on the success of the Patriot Sporting Challenge’s Lake Fork Challenge trilogy of sporting events in 2017 and 2018, an additional PSC event has been scheduled for October 5, 2019. The event, “PSC Legacy Day,” will consist of several outdoor fun and exciting activities for local and regional StarKids participants. The host site will be The Links at Land’s End and will focus on the legacies of our heroes.
The PSC touchstone event, The Lake Fork Challenge supporting the Folds of Honor, will shift to a Spring event in 2020 and will join the StarKids event as a biannual pairing. “Having two events per year gives us better outreach to honor the sacrifices of our designated families,” said Garry Schnabel, Executive Director of the Patriot Sporting Challenge.
StarKids focuses on children of fallen military veterans who died in combat as well as first responders, police officers, game wardens, disaster responders, and firefighters. Participants are between the ages of 10 and 18 years of age, and this Lake Fork event will focus on children from the Northeast Texas area.
Since 1996, The State of Texas has lost 292 peace officers in the line of duty. In that same period our nation has lost 3,430 law enforcement officers, 1,452 firefighters, and tens of thousands of military veterans. Hundreds more, a majority of whom were fathers and mothers, have fallen responding to disasters, working as game wardens, or providing emergency medical services.
The purpose of the Trinity Oaks’ StarKids program as well as PSC Legacy Day is to help those sons and daughters as well as honor their families’ sacrifice with a unique outdoors experience. Trinity Oaks Founder and President Tom Snyder explains, “’We have seen time and time again in our work with the families of fallen veterans and first responders that time in nature with other like-minded children has a huge impact on coping with grief. The partnering with the Patriot Sporting Challenge is just a natural extension of that work and a way for us to give back even more.”
Schnabel also said, “The common vision and joining of forces of the PSC and Trinity Oaks is the civilian equivalent of force multiplying. Together we will make a difference in the lives of many individuals and families. It is our ‘Call to Duty.’”
To find out more about the Patriot Sporting Challenge, The Lake Fork Challenge or Trinity Oaks please contact the PSC offices at PatriotSportingChallenge@gmail.com.
The Community Chronicle
Chuck Roy, Editor