East Texas Wounded Warriors honored all weekend long

Published: Sep. 27, 2013 at 9:04 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 26, 2013 at 10:57 PM CST
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TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Today a welcome ceremony at the Tyler Jet Center kicked off the sixth annual Texas Wounded Warrior Celebration put on by Hope for the Warriors. It is a weekend-long event honoring wounded area veterans.

These veterans have similar stories to tell.

"I was blown up twice on each deployment, for a total of four times," Tyler Tillery, a Marine, said.

"As we were coming down the ravine, pretty much struck an IED, and caused a couple injuries to some of us," Wilbert Enriquez, another Marine, remembered.

Injuries are obvious in some, but for others, it's what you can't see that is causing the most pain.

"I've had too many veterans that are my friends, that I was in the Marine Corps with, commit suicide because of their issues," Tillery said.

For many of these men, PTSD has become both a great weakness and a great source of strength.

"For them to host something like this for us, it, it's incredible, ya know, it gives us a sense of belonging with not just the community, but with other service members that are wounded as well," Tillery said.

They are finding comfort in one another's scars of war, although the dog glued to Enriquez's hip helps, too.

"Like when I go to the hospital, she'll open the doors for me and brings my meds and wakes me up from nightmares and stuff like that, and likes to go around the corners so nothing will surprise me around corners," Enriquez said of his service dog.

These military men have battled overseas and are continuing their battles back home.

"I've accepted that that's not going to be okay for me," Tillery said.

It's the attitude here, that proves they're winning the fight.

"Ever since I got out, I decided that I wasn't going to just sit around and do nothing," Tillery said, "there's too many of us out there that don't have the help that I had and my goal is to get those guys the help."

Like Hope for the Warriors has helped them. A weekend of ceremonies, events, and lots of thank yous, to build an arsenal of support to combat their wounds.

"The feeling we get, especially, when we see the kids at the schools ... I mean it's just, it makes you realize what you fought for," Tillery said.

A golf tournament, private concert with Randy Travis, and multiple ceremonies held throughout the weekend will raise money for "Hope for the Warriors," and assisting wounded service members.

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