by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston
307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
6/9/2011 - Barksdale AFB, La. -- Dick Goetz never imagined that simply playing in a golf tournament would put him in the pilot's seat of a B-52 Stratofortess at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., three years later.
Goetz, a golf pro from Tyler, Texas, traveled to California during the Summer of 2007, where he played in the fourth annual Marine Corps Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament at Camp Lejeune's Paradise Point Golf Course. There, he met Maj. Gen. Robert C. Dickerson, Commander of Marine Corps Installations East and many young veterans who had lost limbs in recent combat actions.
The experience stayed with Goetz, and after returning to Texas, he and two golfing buddies, Ron Nash and Harley Wilke, founded "Texas Wounded Warrior" to help Texas veterans who had been wounded in service of their country.
Texas Wounded Warrior, makes it part of its mission to honor, and to empower our Wounded Warriors by providing them a weekend of fun, fellowship and entertainment on the golf course.
"We have been able to garner a lot of support in Tyler," said Goetz. "So far we have helped 35 wounded warriors from all over the State of Texas. We've raised over 82,000 dollars in our first three events."
Escorted by Brig. Gen. (Ret) Jack Ihle, a former commander of the 917th Wing, the founder's group made a stop at Barksdale AFB for a briefing on the Air Force Reserve from Brig. Gen. John J. Mooney III, commander, 307th Bomb Wing, and a close-up look at some Air Force Reserve Command assets assigned to the 307th BW and 917th Fighter Group.
"Even after 42 years as a professional golfer, there's nothing with more rewards than helping these kids," Goetz said. "We have widened doorways for wheelchair access, and bought bicycles for amputees. We try to offer some additional amenities and support to these wounded veterans that the government doesn't provide to help them adjust to civilian life. We've even helped a widow go back to school after her husband was killed."
The Texas Wounded Warrior doesn't fly solo. In the past, they have teamed up with organizations like "Hope for the Warriors," Jacksonville, N.C., to assist wounded veterans.
"There are wounded veterans all over the country," said Goetz. "When we can, we will funnel a portion of our funds to a particular area to help others. Now, we are looking to help Bossier/Shreveport veterans as well."
For more information: www.TxWoundedWarrior.com
Brig. Gen. (Ret) Jack Ihle, a former commander of the 917th Wing, hands a dummy 30mm round back to 1st Lt. Gant Petty, A-10 pilot, 47th Fighter Squadron, during a visit in the A-10 Hangar at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., by the founders of Texas Wounded Warrior, May 24, 2011. From right to left are Harley Wilke, one of the founders of Texas Wounded Warrior, Thomas P. Gros, board member, Dick Goetz, chairman, TWW, Ron Nash, vice-chair, TWW, General Ihle and Lieutenant Petty. Texas Wounded Warrior, an organization founded by golfers, makes it part of its mission to honor, and to empower our Wounded Warriors by providing them a weekend of fun, fellowship and entertainment on the golf course. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Walston) Hi-res