We honor our Veterans and serving Military everyday of the year, but today is our special day to pause and say thanks to them and their families!
For our Veterans and families who gave the ultimate sacrifice, Hooah!
Editor’s note: This is a tribute to Ken “The Dauber” Pridgeon, a War Veteran himself, (serving from the age of 19 to the age of 27), Portrait of a Warrior Memorial Gallery, our Fallen Heroes, all American Veterans, and those who serve today or those who stand ready to go to battle for American Freedom. You must go, if you haven’t already. Take the kids, the grandkids, grandparents, Veterans in your family; it is a must see!
FIRST: When I walked into the Portrait of a Warrior Memorial Art Gallery, I thought of the famous “Jaws” movie line “WE’RE GOING TO NEED A BIGGER BOAT!”
I met Ken “the Dauber” Pridgeon when Old River-Winfree Founders Day was looking for someone to paint a roadside mural for our Founders Day. Ken is famous for the mural at the Baytown Museum and I thought, that’s our guyI
I remember going to his house in early to mid 2009 and saw the work he does. We did commission Ken to do our Roadside mural.
Go to this ORW Community News posting to see Ken painting our mural: https://orwfd.wordpress.com/2010/06/25/commissioning-history/
It was months after that, I felt led to ask Ken to do a portrait of Pfc. Wesley R. Riggs for Founders Day. Ken says when do you need it….. Ken tells the story that it was on a Wednesday I asked him to paint the portrait. He remembers me saying, Saturday, of course! That was two days away!
(This portrait of Pfc. Wesley R. Riggs turned out to be the FIRST portrait in the long line of Portraits of our Fallen Heroes that Ken has done since that day. It started Ken on a Journey of a lifetime, blessed by God.) As Ken set there painting, we didn’t know that another soldier, Army Staff Sgt. Jesse W. Ainsworth, was being escorted by the Patriot Guard going north on Hwy 146 taking him back to his final resting place in Dayton, Texas. Staff Sgt. Ainsworth was the second portrait. The rest is history.
I see Ken when he comes back to where it all began at Old River-Winfree Founders Day and follow his posts on Facebook, but, I had never been to the Memorial Gallery.
Yesterday, I was dropping off flyers for the ORWFD 5K Run/Walk Benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project in Memory of Pfc Wesley R. Riggs and I put the Gallery and Ken on my list of places to stop.
I shot pictures up a storm outside, making sure that all of those who saw this post would feel as it they were with me on this visit. I was a happy little camper; hot , but happy.
I then opened the door to go into the Gallery. It was then the 6 senses we are all born with, normally, took over.
First was the gift of sight: My eyes opened wide at the color they were viewing, brilliant in red, white and blue. The Red, White, and Blue of our Fallen Heroes. When my eyes started going from left to right around the Gallery, my thoughts were, “So many portraits”. Meaning, so many lost lives. I took in the portraits that go from ceiling to floor and my eyes started misting up and tears flowed gently down my face.
Mind you, I’m not out of the doorway yet. I’m just standing there taking it all in.
Then my hearing took over and I could hear music, Patriotic Country Music coming from a radio in the back; and, something else; a voice, and I realized and recognized Ken singing at the top of his lungs along with the radio.
I could smell the very faint aroma of paint and started taking pictures to make sure you were seeing what I saw.
I worked my way back toward the music and Ken, all along snapping pictures and just looking at the lives affected by our last two wars and beyond. As I neared Ken, I saw him with his paint brush up, just a painting away on another portrait of a hero, a special kind of hero.
I called to Ken and approached him as he sat and we greeted one another. I turned around from him, telling Ken how wonderful the Gallery is, and I spotted it.
Right behind where Ken paints is his first Portrait, the portrait of Pfc Wesley R. Riggs son of my friend, Daniel Riggs. I’m an emotional person, but it seemed like Wes was there cheering Ken on and watching over the work. Right by Wes was Staff Sgt Ainsworth, Ken’s second portrait.
Ken and I started talking and I continued my way snapping pictures, sharing with Ken, reminiscing, and talking about the upcoming 2013 ORWFD on October 12, 2013.
We talked and I saw soo much more, like the Vietnam jacket pictured in the video below. SO much more to see.
But, YOU will have to go find out the rest of the story on your on. Ken is getting older and his health seemed off to me, he seemed tired. But when he starts talking about his “boys and girls” his face lights up and it’s a beautiful transformation.
Go….. go soon, to see Ken “the Dauber” Pridgeon, a Texas Icon!
The making of the 2013 5K Run/Walk Benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project in Memory of Pfc Wesley R. Riggs T-Shirt:
The graphics, t-shirt material, and wording were chosen with great care this year as Old River-Winfree Founders Day is ever mindful of the sacrifice our military and their families make every day since 1776. The following is a short history of what brought the ORWFD Team forward to the choosing of the graphics for this year’s T-Shirt that any American would be proud to wear year-round!
“When the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in May 1775, Washington, one of the Virginia delegates, was elected Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. On July 3, 1775, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, he took command of his ill-trained troops and embarked upon a war that was to last six grueling years.
December 1776 was a desperate time for George Washington and the American Revolution. The ragtag Continental Army was encamped along the Pennsylvania shore of the Delaware River exhausted, demoralized and uncertain of its future.
During the night of December 25, Washington led his troops across the ice-swollen Delaware about 9 miles north of Trenton. The weather was horrendous and the river treacherous. Raging winds combined with snow, sleet and rain to produce almost impossible conditions. To add to the difficulties, a significant number of Washington’s force marched through the snow without shoes.
The next morning they attacked to the south, taking the Hessian garrison by surprise and over-running the town. After fierce fighting, and the loss of their commander, the Hessians surrendered.
On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. “As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent,” he wrote James Madison, “it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.””
George Washing is quoted on many great sayings, one of the best and most thought provoking is this one from 1781.
Added to this great quote is the American Eagle, the American Flag, and the ORWFD logo. As always, the ORWFD 5K Run/Walk is held in Memory of Pfc Wesley R. Riggs and his family that paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Wesley R. Riggs was a graduate of Barbers Hill High School and accomplished that is three (3) years! Barbers Hill Bank in Mont Belvieu, Texas a branch of Anahuac National Bank is the Exclusive Sponsor and has been for four (4) years running!
Color is “Barbers Hill” Blue
All American T–Shirts in Old River-Winfree is the Official Old River-Winfree Founders Day T-Shirt Vendor.
Also, the entry form for the October 5th event.
The 2013 ORWFD Schedule of Events on October 12, 2013 is also below. Two days worth of Fun!
We need Veterans to mark the course with flags at the October 5th 5K Run/Walk Event at Barbers Hill Stadium. If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran please let them know about this. They can sit, stand, whatever with a flag. The flag can be our American Flag, the Flag of the Military Branch of Service, Texas Flag, POW Flag. Chairs will not be provided but are welcome if you man the course.
God Bless America!
Old River-Winfree Founders Day, sponsored by the City of Old River-Winfree is proud to announce Randy Oliver as the winner of the Pfc. Wesley R. Riggs Memorial Scholarship Award given to a graduating senior at Barbers Hill High School. Sponsoring the Run/Walk for the last three years and the 2013 3K/5K Run/Walk is Barbers Hill Bank, a Branch of Anahuac National Bank represented by Bob Allen in the picture.
One of the items required in the Application for this scholarship was an Essay on the Legacy of Pfc Wesley R. Riggs.
In a “blind reading”, Old River-Winfree Founders Team Members awarded Thomas Randall Oliver (Randy) the 2012 Pfc Wesley R. Riggs Memorial Scholarship. In a “blind reading”, participants read each essay on Pfc Wesley R. Riggs without knowing the name of the writer. The final vote was unanimous for Randy Oliver.
Pfc. Wesley R. Riggs, 19, of Beach City, Texas died May 17 in Tikrit, Iraq, from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his dismounted position. Riggs was assigned to the Army’s 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga. Pfc. Riggs was known for his bravery, courage, quick smile, and encouragement to his brothers in his Battalion.
Wesley came home to rest at the National Cemetery in Houston, Texas May 25, 2005. At the Mass, Wesley’s family received Wesley’s two commendations — the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He also received the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal and Army Service Ribbon. Our Hero was given full military honor funeral.
Pfc Riggs graduated from Barbers Hill High School in just three years.
Mayor Landry is a veteran of the Vietnam War and Charlie Newsom is a veteran from peace time Germany a few years before the Vietnam War.
On June 7, 2005 Texas Representative Ted Poe recognized and honored Pfc Riggs’ sacrifice before the United States House of Representatives. Flags were flown at half-mast for this Texas man. An excerpt of that recognition follows:
Chair: Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Rep. Ted Poe [R-TX]: “I don’t do it for the money ….. I don’t do it for the glory ….. Providing for our future is my responsibility ….. I can’t call in sick on Mondays when the weekend has been too strong. I just work straight through the holidays and sometimes all night long. You can bet that I stand ready when the wolf growls at the door ….. I am solid ….. I am steady ….. I am true down to the core ….. I’m an American soldier.”
Words from Toby Keith’s “American Soldier.”
Mr. Speaker, today I rise in honor of a young American soldier, Private First Class Wesley Robert Riggs, who died serving our Nation in Iraq. Private First Class Riggs, in only 19 years, had exhibited a lifetime of dedication and duty. He was killed during a patrol on May 17, 2005, near Tikrit, Iraq, when a roadside bomb exploded.
He was a native of Baytown/Beach City, Texas. Wesley graduated in 3 years from Barbers Hill High School in 2003. He was active in the Future Farmers of America. To Wesley’s Ag teachers, he was well devoted to the curriculum and is remembered for his skills in Ag Mechanics and Meats Technology. They recall his love of fishing, hunting and anything outdoors.
Before enlisting in the United States Army in 2004, Wesley spent his days like many other young Texans. He enjoyed hanging around with friends and working on cars. He liked four-wheeling and camping. He was also a member of the Houston Olympic weight lifting team.
He attended Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Mt. Belvieu, Texas. Reverend Andrew Moore, Wesley’s Pastor at Holy Trinity, recalls a dedicated young man that was extremely motivated and driven. He dreamed of a career in law enforcement after his years in the military.
All proceeds from the Old River-Winfree Founders Day 5K Run/Walk benefit the Wounded Warrior Project (90%) and the Memorial Scholarship Fund (10%).
In 1789, President George Washington “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
The Wounded Warrior Project does just that in ministering to the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of our military returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is among these.
The 2013 Old River-Winfree Founders Day will be October 12, 2013.
The picture was taken at the Pfc. Wesley R. Riggs Memorial at the Beach City, Texas City Hall and Fire Department Complex. Picture is courtesy of Loxx Photography of Baytown, Texas.
For more information on Founders Day http:www.orwfoundersday.com.
They are your friends and neighbors and deserve so much recognition, because they never let us down.
The following businesses were announced as Contest Sponsors at the May 13, 2013 Old River-Winfree City Council meeting for the 2013 Old River-Winfree Founders Day, a City Sponsored Event.
To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org
In Memory of Pfc Wesley R. Riggs, who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and all that have served and are serving today, who fought and fight FOR FREEDOM!
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”
President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts
On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.
In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.
The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.
The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Free Pony Rides, Petting Zoo, Rock Wall, Mechanical Bull, Mini-Carousel! “Rolling Thunder” Tribute!! Vendors such as Avon, Scentsy, Tupperware, Studio Bobbie, Martin Birdhouses, Custom Walking Canes, Coffee Bar, Mary Kay. Food Vendors from fried fish to Boudain Tamales, Frito Pies to Barbque!
See Ken Pridgeon of “Portrait of a Warrior”, Author Jean L. Epperson, Historical Artifacts of Old River-Winfree and a Historical Reenactment!
Enter the Bakeoff (cash prizes), “My Best Friend” Dog Contest (lots of fun), 5K Run/Walk, Motorcycle Contest, Old River Country Natural Beauty Pageant and have an all around great time.
Something for everyone this year.
Visit www.orwfoundersday.com and find out what all the talk is about!
Come spend the day with us at Old River-Winfree Founders Day on October 12 and 13! Free rides, DJ, Fun, Fun, Fun Contest, Chambers County Historical Commission, Ken “The Dauber” Pridgeon (Portrait of a Warrior Museum), Jean L. Epperson Book Signing, Old River-Winfree Historical Artifacts, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Birds of Old River Country Exhibit, Historical Reenactment, and much, much more.
Go to orwfoundersday.com to find out what a FUN, FAMILY event we offer!
The following article was co-written by Kenneth Collier, Old River-Winfree Resident and Race Manager of the 2012 5K Run/Walk Benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project in Memory of Pfc Wesley R. Riggs and Colleen Fontenot, Old River-Winfree Resident and President of Old River-Winfree Founders Day.
Old River-Winfree Founders Day is backed by a host of volunteers working hard to make this event and all events at Founders Day a Day to remember!
Please take the time and read below. Join us in the magnificent Run for this generations Warriors!
The first 50 get a T-Shirt with their packet!
Not much time left until Race Day on October 13th!
Go to orwfoundersday.com and click on FORMS to register online or print and mail in your entry with your payment!
While you are on the website, visit the events page to see what else is going on that day. Stay with us and experience HISTORY!
See you there!
Again this year, we have a prestigious line up of Judges for the Old River-Winfree Founders Day Bakeoff Contest to be held October 13, 2012 at the 4th Annual Event. This event is open to boys and girls, men and women. The judges are:
After the winners are announced, the highly anticipated and lively auction starts with 90% of the proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project and 20% going to the Pfc. Wesley R. Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund. Wes graduated from Barbers Hill High School in three years and a deserving Senior there is a recipient of the Scholarship.
New this year are cash prizes to the Overall and 1st Place Winner in each category (Cake, Pie, Cupcake).
Also new this year, is the Mrs. Ethel P Ramsey Teen Excellence in Baking Award for the best Teen cook overall. Founders Day hopes to encourage our young people to continue the art of baking and baking from scratch.
The Event is Sponsored by Carnes Engineering, Inc. and has been for four (4) years in a row!
Prizes this year are:
$200 Prize and Cup Trophy for Grand Overall Champion of Bake-Off
$100 Prize and Trophy First Time Award: Mrs. Ethel P. Ramsey Teen Excellence in Baking Award
$25 Prize for Best in Cupcakes
$50 Prize for Best in Cakes
$50 Prize for Best in Pies
1st Place Prizes in each Category
The Entry Form is below OR you may go to the Old River-Winfree Founders Day website at orwfoundersday.com and click on the “Events” or “Forms” tab at the top of the page.
Old River-Winfree Founders Day, sponsored by the City of Old River-Winfree is proud to announce Katelyn Kelly as the winner of the Pfc. Wesley R. Riggs Memorial Scholarship Award given to a graduating senior at Barbers Hill High School.
One of the items required in the Application for this scholarship was an Essay on the Legacy of Pfc Wesley R. Riggs. Katelyn’s Essay was on “The Importance of Volunteerism”. This essay hit right on the sacrifice made by our Military and their families. Katelyn shows a maturity and understanding of our First Line of Defense Volunteers that is far beyond her years.
An excerpt from Kelly’s essay will help you understand why she was chosen.
“What if no one answered the call to protect our country and the freedom that so many people take for granted. Pfc. Wesley R. Riggs answered that call to volunteer to serve in the United States Army. I am sure it was a proud day when he joined and when he graduated boot camp. I bet there was no fanfare or recognition outside of his and his family’s pride and sense of accomplishment.
Unfortunately, it has taken an attack on American soil and two wars for Americans to appreciate this country’s first responders and our volunteer military. After the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Towers, when we watched the brave men and women of the NYFD rush into those towers as everyone was running away, Americans have appreciated the bravery and celebrated our first responders all across our country. After the call by our President to these attacks and to defend our way of life, thousands of young Americans bravely answered the call to volunteer and fight to defend our freedom. No one volunteers to die, whether it is fighting a fire, answering a police call or serving in the Military in a hostile country. These brave men and women, like Pfc Riggs, have all been doing a job, a job they were genuinely proud of, and doing it to the best of their ability. God has a plan for all of us and he uses our lives for a greter purpose. I am thankful that men and women like Pfc Riggs have volunteered to serve in our Military, and while far too many have died in service to our country, I believe that they all served a special purpose under God’s guidance. I am sure Pfc. Riggs’ family all understand what his purpose was, and while they miss him each and every day, they are proud of his accomplishments and his service to our country.”
Katelyn plans to attend Lee College where she will aim toward a Career in Medicine as an Emergency Room Nurse.
Katelyn was awarded $1,160 toward her tuition, books, etc. The Scholarship Award is derived from the Old River-Winfree Founders Day 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by Barbers Hill Bank and the Auction of Pies, Cake, and Cupcakes from the Bakeoff Contest sponsored by Carnes Engineering.