ATD Vets Committee Helps Make It a Merry Christmas for Wounded Soldiers

On December 8 and 9, the TWU ATD Veterans Committee co-led the distribution of hundreds upon hundreds of holiday gifts and necessities to wounded soldiers and their families at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. Working in conjunction with Operation Military Embrace, a Texas-based military support organization, the Committee raised $8,000 and brought in an overwhelming number of goods donations from TWU members and locals across the country.

“These guys and gals are hurt, and they’re here beyond their control,” said Jose Galarza, US Army veteran and the TWU International’s ATD Veterans Committee Liaison. “They can’t be home for Christmas with their families. We try to help them and make their Christmas as good as we can. We [TWU Vets] understand what veterans go through and how hard it can be at times.”

Since the summer, Veterans Committee members worked to secure donations for their wounded fellow servicemen. Jose Martinez, a US Marine Corps veteran and TWU Local 571 member manned a donation bin in the American Eagle terminal. Shirley Kolling, a US Airforce veteran and TWU Local 575 member set up buckets at American Eagle ticket counters.

“People don’t always take into account how much razors cost, and how much laundry soap and diapers cost, and how that accumulates month after month,” said Jennifer Nelson, a Warrior Transition Battalion member at the Brooke Army Medical Center. “They get a break from that, take some of that financial strain off of them so that they can enjoy the holidays a little bit more.”

The drive served approximately 2,000 soldiers, along with their spouses and children. “Toys for the kids, bicycles, electronics, houseware items — you name it, we have it,” said Jose. “We received donations from the Transit Division, the Rail Division, and the Airline Division."

“We had about three U-Haul trucks,” said US Army veteran and ATD Veterans Committee Chairman Hank Trujillo. “We're helping families of Wounded Warriors celebrate a little bit more joyous Christmas.”