The American Warrior Initiative kicked off 2018 in the great state of Texas, the first stop being Houston! The sold-out event was held at the newly refurbished Lone Star Flight Museum and was sponsored by three branch managers of Fairway Independent Mortgage corporation: Steve Curtis, Ted Robinson, and Louise Thaxton.
The 125 real estate professionals who gathered for four hours of training on working with military clients with excellence, and to also receive continuing education credit, had a big surprise waiting for them when Medal of Honor recipient Ty Carter appeared as a special guest of the event and spoke briefly of his time in Afghanistan and the importance of serving.
Sean Parnell, retired Army Ranger and decorated combat veteran, author of the New York Times bestseller, Outlaw Platoon, spoke to the crowd about the huge difference a real estate agent can make for veterans coming home from war.
Because honoring a local veteran is one of the most important and impactful parts of an American Warrior Initiative boot camp, it was an amazing end to the event when Retired Staff Sergeant Phillip Blackmon—a United States Army combat veteran—was invited to the stage for what he thought would be simply a tribute to his service. However, thanks to the generous donations from the employees of the local branches and the real estate agents attending the event, AWI was able to present this brave warrior and his wife Tammy with a family grant for $20,000.00 – an amount that set the bar for the rest of the year and proved once again that everything is bigger in Texas.
It was an honor to celebrate and serve such a worthy recipient. The following is just a portion of Phillip’s accomplishments and some of his challenges.
- Phillip Blackmon joined the United States Army in 2002 and served as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Specialist. He deployed to Iraq for the first time in 2003 and spent twelve months disarming roadside IED’s. Upon his return to the States, Phillip was chosen to assist the Secret Service during President George W. Bush’s reelection.
- Phillip was then transferred to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and temporarily assigned to the Joint POW-MIA Accountability Command in Vietnam. In Vietnam, SSG Blackmon assisted with the search for the remains of fallen soldiers who never made it home.
- In 2006 SSG Blackmon returned to Iraq as a team leader for his second deployment. During a routine operation in the city of Mosul, an IED exploded outside the door of his vehicle. The explosion knocked Phillip unconscious, creating permanent hearing loss in his right ear and left him with Traumatic Brain Injury and skeletal damage. He was medically retired in 2010.
- For his service in the United States Army, Phillip was awarded the following citations and awards: Iraq Campaign Medal with two stars, Senior Explosive Ordinance Disposal badge, Army Achievement medal (2nd Award), Purple Heart, Army Good Conduct Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Combat Action Badge and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Special Thanks to our Houston Sponsors: Alamo Title Company, Stewart Title, Gringo’s Tex-Mex, Farmers Insurance, South Land Title and Saratoga Homes of Houston. We couldn’t have done it without you!