For the last nine years, Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) has held a yearly National Family Day event honoring disabled American veterans and their families, and the contributions and sacrifices they've made in service to our country. For the last five years, these have been held at the 165-acre San Antonio Police Dept. (SAPD) training academy. These events feature an all-day festival of fun, firearms safety and free gifts, and this year was no exception: With nearly 300 disabled veterans, spouses and kids and over 100 volunteers, everyone enjoyed a full day of the HAVA "giving back" formula.
"We had veteran families from as far away as Dallas attending this year as word has spread throughout the military communities that the HAVA day is a must-see event that is particularly suited to the family unit," said HAVA Chairman Tom Taylor. "Many of the SAPD officers are veterans and understand the difficulties of conversion back into civilian life and we had contingents of Marines, Explorers and Police Auxiliary attending as volunteers. They were all dedicating their best efforts to serving the needs of our military guest families who have sacrificed so much in America's service. It was HAVA's honor this year, and every year, to represent our industry in serving these heroes."
Added SAPD Chief William P. McManus, "I was totally impressed by the dedication and level of service by our HAVA/SAPD team in giving these deserving American military families a day to remember as they strive to rebuild their future, often despite overwhelming physical and/or emotional handicaps. SAPD has over 2,000 officers that are dedicated to community service and we were privileged to spend another day interacting with those heroes who answered the call when our country needed them. We plan on being here again next year as HAVA celebrates the 10th anniversary of its first-ever event, right here in San Antonio."
The day's exciting events included a shooting exhibition by World Champion Max Michel, as well as shooting events including six stages of fire for vets, spouses and teens. The range also included a "Girl and A Gun" stage for ladies only, and a new "Learn to Shoot Again" team to re-train severely injured veterans…taught by severely injured veterans. The family day also featured youth safety training, airsoft instruction/shooting, a 60-foot inflatable bounce house and professionally staffed infant/toddler care so that the parents could enjoy all of the day's events. As always at HAVA events, each veteran received an impressive gift bag and over 40 high-value guns and outdoor products were given away in a raffle. Every child went home a winner with a kid's raffle prize. And in a special raffle at this year's event, a Marine Sgt. won a Glock 30th Anniversary engraved collectible pistol.