May is National Military Appreciation Month and the Tribune is honored to tell you about the contributions of three of our own. Over a few days last week, we were asked to tell our readers about a gravely injured soldier with a new wife and baby on the way who needs help, a young man serving far from home who needs letters and a joyous welcome home celebration for another.Please take a moment and share this column with your friends and family. We have the peace of mind and comforts of home because of the efforts of the brave young men discussed below, and the huge sacrifices made by thousands of men and women across the country. Cynthia Calvert A sailor needs your help Help support one of our own! On Saturday, May 19, the Sports Bunker, 7054 FM 1960 East in Atascocita behind 24 Hour Fitness, will hold a barbecue benefit for Anthony Thompson who was critically wounded while serving in the U.S. Navy in Fallujah. He is newly married and has a baby boy on the way. There will be barbecue plates beginning at noon, live music all day and a live auction at 6 p.m. Thompson is a 2000 graduate of Hargrave High School in Huffman and his wife, Ivonne, is a 1996 graduate of Humble High School. Cash donations are being accepted at Wells Fargo Bank in Huffman. For more information or to donate food or auction items, please call Diane Anderson at 832-279-4133, Kristen Breaux 281-450-5058 or Justin Ebner at 713-705-5495. Thompson is now at Bethesda Naval Hospital for assessment of his extensive injuries, which include paralysis and diffuse head trauma. He stepped up to serve; now he needs you. Show Your Support for a Hometown Hero - Write a soldier and make his day! By Kelley Jackson of Kingwood My best friend and little brother, PFC KYLE ROBERT JACKSON B Company - 70th Engineer Battalion, is in the Army currently serving in Afghanistan. He really looks forward to getting mail. My goal is to send at least 500 letters from home showing our support. I would like these letters to reach him by the 4th of July, which means they must be submitted by June 1, 2007. You can either email your letters to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or drop them off at Keller Williams Realty Northeast, 20665 West Lake Houston Parkway, Kingwood, Texas 77346. Let’s show him that he is not alone and that the Kingwood-Humble-Atascocita community appreciates his service! 20mil2.jpg/ 20mil3.jpg (Donna Hyland on phone awaiting son's return). A hero's welcome With her daughter's senior portraits scattered across the coffee table and friends waving flags, Donna Hyland anxiously awaited her son's return from a six-month tour in Bahrain. Ryan Hyland, 21, joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from Humble High School in 2004. Based out of Corpus Christi, Hyland spent six months in Bahrain, where he helped provide support to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. He returned on May 10 to a small crowd, all waving the red, white and blue. "This is going to be a wonderful Mother's Day," said Donna Hyland, mom. He will be home for two weeks before before returning to base in Corpus Christi and has big plans to catch up with family and friends. "I'm definately going to go to an Astros game," he said. He's looking forward to having his mom's homemade cooking and playing pool with his friends. The City of Humble also declared May 10, 2007 as Ryan Hyland Day and he received a proclaimation from Mayor Donnie McMannes. Photo: The Hyland family. From left, Jennifer, Donna, Ryan and his fiancee Shelly Mayan. Here's what you can do: Civilians coping with the demands of everyday life often forget the sacrifice of our soldiers. As we pay the rent and go shopping and raise our children, we take for granted our relative security and prosperity compared to the rest of the world. Soldiers, however, know all too well the chaos and turmoil of trouble spots because they witnessed it firsthand. Furthermore, our veterans deserve, and many desperately need, continuing confirmation of the value of their service as they cope with the aftermath of war. Faced with budget cuts and swelling admissions, VA Medical Centers are not always able to fully address these psychological needs on an individual, veteran-by-veteran basis. Furthermore, a chasm exists between veterans with needs, and independent citizens who are willing to pitch in, but don't know how. On the one hand, many veterans would like to participate in special outreach programs but are unable to find a sponsor. On the other, individuals and groups would like to help a veteran, but are often limited in the forms of assistance they can provide. To bridge this gap, Manhattanville College, created a program called Hats off to Veterans ("Hats Off"). "Hats Off" promotes recognition to veterans especially for those home or hospital bound due to injury while serving our country. When a person enrolls in the "Hats Off" program, they agree to mail or deliver a respectful greeting and note of encouragement to a hospitalized veteran. Sign up at to receive a "Hats Off" starter kit containing veteran contact information, guidelines for letter writing and optional care package preparation, a My Soldier bracelet (to wear in support of veterans and American service men and women) and a specially designed My Soldier baseball hat to include with the greeting they send to their veteran. The program and kits are free to all who register, but donations are appreciated. Participation is not limited to Manhattanville College, but is open to the public. In fact, it is the goal of the program to have participants from all 50 states. It is hoped every American registers to use "Hats Off" to honor, support and thank a veteran. It's an easy way for anyone to do his or her part to recognize and cheer a hospitalized veteran.

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