Over the past nine years, WC Challenger Charities has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local nonprofit organizations while at the same time bringing electrifying bull riding action to Wise County’s PBR fans.
For the 10th anniversary in June, organizers Andrew Rottner, Wendell Berry Jr., Calvin Jackson and Alan Sessions decided to expand the event’s reach to mark the occasion.
They plan to give a home to a wounded veteran through the Military Warriors Support Foundation, but they will need to raise an additional $20,000.
“You know, at first we were really looking at the glitz and the glamour … to do something flashy but then we got to thinking, how we could have more of a meaningful impact,” said Rottner.
“It will be in memory of Roy,” he said, “a one-time contribution outside of our normal donations.”
Roy Young was a founder of WC Challenger Charities along with Rottner, Berry and Jackson. He died Sept. 14, the day before the group was to meet and begin planning the 10th anniversary celebration.
“He’d be proud of where this is headed,” said Rottner. “It’s the epitome of Roy. You never saw his name. He was never in the limelight.”
Jackson called Young “the driving force.”
“It’s the least we could do,” he said.
Jackson and Sessions learned about the Military Warriors Support Foundation in August at a hunting trade show in San Antonio, also home to Brooke Army Medical Center.
“For three days, we saw these kids coming by … and they really are just kids … missing limbs, severely burned,” Jackson recalled.
He and Sessions visited with these young men and their families and even met retired 3-star-general Gen. Leroy Sisco, the organization’s founder and chief executive officer.
According to the foundation website, it gives “homes to wounded heroes injured during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan,” and they are “for families who have severe and/or unique circumstances due to their injuries received while serving our country.”
Applicants must be a combat wounded veteran, Purple Heart preferred, or an unmarried Gold Star Spouse of OEF/OIF, honorably retired or separated from the military and must not currently have a mortgage.
The families also receive three years of family and financial mentoring after receiving a home.
Jackson and Sessions told other WC Challenger members about the foundation, and all were on board, including Young.
“I talked to him about three days before he died,” said Berry, “and he liked it.”
Although the group plans to raise enough money for one home, their goal is to raise enough for three, which would require $60,000 in donations.
In an effort to raise awareness of the group’s goal, Berry is running “1,000 miles ’til home.” He started in September and has logged 371.8 miles, with plans to run 1,000 by the bull riding event in June.
To donate money to WC Challenger’s latest endeavor, visit www.1000milestillhome.com where you can donate via PayPal. You can also mail donations to WC Challenger Charities, P.O. Box 1238, Decatur, TX 76234.