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Rockport Warriors United veterans program kicks off

Members of the Rockport Warriors United nonprofit for veterans at the start of the Oysterfest parade in Fulton on March 3. The parade was the first official event of the new organization, founded to offer retreats to veterans. Courtesy photo

Rockport Warriors United kicks off as a new nonprofit to benefit veterans, launching its Purpose and Passion program Friday, March 9, with a ribbon-cutting, tours of its new facility, live music and fundraising giveaways. The event is 5-8 p.m. at 1130 E. Linden St. in Rockport, where two houses with a total of about 8,000 square feet will soon become a weekend retreat for veterans.

“This is a faith-based retreat for veterans to reconnect with their community, to empower them, to have resources available and build camaraderie with other veterans,” said co-founder David Jones of Rockport.

The largest of the two buildings will become a bunkhouse with five bedrooms and four baths. The smaller, two-bedroom house will serve as a recreation hall, Jones said. He plans to include a pool table, card tables, a big screen TV and lounge areas.

The plan is to host up to 26 veterans one weekend a month, Friday-Sunday, for fishing, hunting, kayaking and other activities. Each weekend will feature a different activity such as bay fishing, charter boat fishing or duck hunting. There will also be couples’ retreats for veterans and spouses to relax and reconnect after long tours of duty.

“My wife and I talked about doing this for seven years,” Jones said. “We lived in Colorado, and a friend came back with PTSD. We tried everything to get him to reconnect, but we could never reach him.”

His friend got involved in drugs and, ultimately, committed suicide. Jones and wife Tracy wanted to do more to help their friend and others like him.

After moving to Corpus Christi, the couple were working on the program when David Jones had a near-fatal car accident. Rehab took 3½ years. Now back on his feet, he and Tracy are ready to go.

“The house came up, and that really got the ball rolling,” he said. “We have people interested who have bought in in Rockport and Corpus Christi, and this is really taking off.”

The March 9 ribbon-cutting is a dual event sponsored by the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce and the Rockport Chamber of Commerce. Also involved are radio stations My Country 107.3 and the Beach 96.5. Live music will be provided by the Corpus Christi Veterans Band.

“Everything is donated, from TVs to toilet paper,” Jones said. “Even the furniture and bed linens.”

The Rockport Warriors United retreat still needs a lot to become a fully functional, comfortable home away from home, including a boarding room-style dining table able to seat 26.

“We want everyone at the same table so we can all sit around, say grace and give our thanks,” Jones said.

Volunteers are also needed as well. Anyone wanting to help, whether with money, donations of household items or volunteer hours, can contact Rockport Warriors United at (361) 737-2682 or rockportwarriorsunited@gmail.com. Visit the newly launched website at rockportwarriorsunited.com to make a donation through PayPal or follow the Facebook page to keep up to date on upcoming fundraisers.

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