They lined the streets waving flags and flashing smiles to give a big Texas welcome to a group of men and women who have put their lives on the line for our country. Families, veterans, and people from the community came out to the Summerwood Church of Latter Day Saints near Humble to express their gratitude to several dozen wounded warriors gathering in town for a special weekend.
"It's just, you know, the sacrifice the guys gave out here," says Humble resident Patrick Crane. "It's just a little effort on our part to come out here and just to say thank you."
In what organizers say is the largest event of its kind in the world -- about 800 wounded warriors are arriving in Houston for a fishing trip to Port O'Connor. They say it's a time for them to relax, reflect, and bond with fellow service members healing from the effects of war.
"It's just an opportunity to relax, outsource, meet new people," says Staff Sergeant Jeffery Herrmann, an active duty soldier who's served three tours in Afghanistan. "And just realize everyone is going through the same thing."
Former soldier Jeffery Williams was wounded 10 years ago in Iraq. On a route clearing mission his humvee was struck by an IED. The impact left him paralyzed from the chest down. Williams says he started bonding with the other warriors today as he was getting off the bus in his wheelchair and they asked a simple question.
"'You need some help brother? I'll carry you on my back,' Williams remember them saying. "That means so much. I know just being back around those kind of people just means so much."
Several hundred more wounded warriors are arriving in Houston on Friday morning. The entire group will then make their way to Port O'Connor with an escort by police officers and several hundred bikers. They'll travel through the towns of Grenada and Edna before making their way to Victoria and then the port.