Local Troops Honored in Midland

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

26 heroes and their wives are being honored by the Tall City this week. 

This year, three of the men are are from right here in West Texas. 

One of the Marines is the son of Lieutenant Brian Bogart of the Midland Police Department.

"People have poured out in tremendous numbers to take advantage of the opportunity to say thanks," Terry Johnson, Founder of the Hunt for Heroes, said. "Like I like to say, shake the hand of a true American hero."

Hunt for Heroes began when a local oil field service professional decided to do something more for our troops.

"Hunting involves a lot of things, right to bear arms, own land, just lots of rights and privileges are involved," Johnson said. "I wanted to bring a couple guys out and let them experience and enjoy what they've fought for."

This year, it's more than just a couple. Hunt for Heroes is welcoming 26 men and their families who've been wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"We have the community here that actually supports troops," Lt. Brian Bogart with the Midland Police Deparment, said. "I've talked to the troops from a lot of other parts of our country and they get home and people won't even talk to them. There's just a whole different atmosphere down here."

Lt. Bogart's son is a Gunnery Sergeant who came home from Iraq last March with injuries from an explosion.

"Everytime he comes home, I'm glad to see him," Lt. Bogart said. "There's times when you wonder when he's overseas whether he's coming home."

This year, three of the troops being honored are from right here in West Texas.

"It's a wonderful thing to see," Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Bogart, said. "Being my community, it makes me proud from both sides. Proud to be a part of the community and proud to see the community respond like this, and proud to show all these guys that this is my community."

And they say, no one rolls out the welcome mat like West Texans.

"I've been all around the United States and I've seen a number of communities and no community I've seen has responded like this one," Gunnery Sergeant Bogart said.

Organizers say these Marines aren't just suffering from physical scars, they're fighting an emotional battle.

"This particular event has helped the process of healing some of those emotional scars they've suffered," Johnson said.

"Everybody I'm here with has been wounded along with me," Gunnery Sergeant Bogart said. "Everybody knows the pains and the troubles people have and nobody understands that better than we do and bringing a group like this together with the benefits of all the people putting this on, there's no better healing process than that. So it's a great experience."