Few tickets are left for Saturday night’s Freedom Ball at the Fort Worth Hilton, said Teresa Nelson, executive director and founder of Support Our Soldiers, the organization presenting the event.
Individual tickets are $60, available online at SupportOurSoldier.com, through tonight or until they are all sold, Nelson said, adding that “no tickets will be sold at the door.”
Nelson said between 430 and 450 tickets have already been sold.
“We are pretty much at capacity,” the Burleson resident said.
Proceeds from the event benefit Support Our Soldiers, a nonprofit organization Nelson founded in 2011 to send customized care packages to U.S. servicemen and women stationed overseas and to promote awareness at home of the needs those men and women face. The money will be used to purchase food and other supplies to include in the care packages and the cost of shipping the packages, Nelson said.
Support Our Soldiers has sent more than 17,000 pounds of care packages to more than 500 soldiers in its first two years. The organization also works to meet specific needs soldiers encounter when they return home, she said.
Soldiers from all branches of the U.S. military and from nine different states will attend the Freedom Ball, which begins with a reception from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Fort Worth Hilton, 815 Main St., in the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom. Live music starts at 6:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., there will be a military protocol demonstration, including a flag-folding ceremony with an explanation of the meaning of each fold.
“It is always a very moving thing to see,” Nelson said of the protocol ceremony, adding that there will be a “fallen soldier table” at the event, “as there is at every military banquet.”
The evening also includes dinner, dancing to music by a DJ, a live auction, special surprise guests and more, Nelson said. She said that Congressman Roger Williams, R-Austin, will attend, along with numerous local elected officials.
Scott Murray, former news anchor with NBC 5 television station and founder of Murray Media, will be master of ceremonies and U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Dana Bowman, retired, will be the special keynote speaker.
Bowman was a Special Forces soldier and a member of the U.S. Army’s elite Golden Knights parachute team. He lost both his legs in a training exercise in February 1994, when he and team member Sgt. Jose Aguillon collided in mid-air. Nine months later, Bowman became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the U.S. Army, doing it with style by skydiving, with his commander, into the re-enlistment ceremony.
“We are calling this a night of pride, patriotism and pageantry, because that it what it will be,” Nelson said. “And yes, this is going to raise money for Support Our Soldiers. But just as important, it is going to raise awareness, remind people that our soldiers are still over there and they still need our help and support. We want to remind people they still need us, and we want to remind [the soldiers] that we appreciate al they do for us.”
For more information, contact Nelson at 817-551-2908.