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There were four in the initial group: founder Jeremy Spann, managing partner at Stoneburgh Management and an international real estate sales consultant with Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty; David Goodroe, president and CEO of the Fort Worth design/build firm Designs for Living; James Korth, an attorney in private practice in Fort Worth; and Terry Ryan, a longtime Fort Worth banker and former president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. Goodroe was the only Army guy in the bunch.

“The process of starting it literally was on a whim, and the four of us got a couple of other guys, so we had like six to seven of us that did the first deal,” Goodroe said. “We didn’t know whether we were going to make any money or lose, so we all kind of said, ‘OK, if we lose [money], we’ve got to come up with it somehow.’ So when it made money, we were kind of shocked, and they said, well, do you want to try it again for No. 2?”

There have now been four Cowtown Warrior Balls, raising about $450,000. Of that, the organization has disbursed about $330,000 to qualified disabled veterans for assistance with items such as wheelchair-accessible ramps, rent assistance and even special beds.

There are many services for disabled U.S. veterans, but they may have needs that go unaddressed. Examples might include the need for a special bed or help with making a home wheelchair-accessible or even short-term financial aid when disability checks get interrupted.

Disabled veterans can apply through the Cowtown Warriors website cowtownwarriors.com. They must supply copies of their Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty – commonly known as a DD214 – and a copy of their Veterans Administration Disability Awards Letter.

Goodroe is a long-time community volunteer in a variety of ways, including being on the board of Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth, where he has been chairman. Since he’s on both boards, he connected Cowtown Warriors to Goodwill’s Vet Worthy program, which provides veterans, spouses, children and caretakers with connections to career and financial planning, job development and skills training support.

Vet Worthy benefits, too, says David Cox, president and CEO of Goodwill. Its primary mission is helping veterans return to civilian life, with a focus on employment. But there may be other needs beyond the scope of the Goodwill program, such as housing, food, transportation, tools needed for job searches.

“That’s where Cowtown Warriors comes in,” Cox said. “Goodwill takes these needs to Cowtown Warriors, who in many cases are able to fund these requests. It’s a great partnership because they serve veterans in ways that Goodwill can’t, and vice versa."

Take beds, for example. Wegner says a lot of disabled veterans have trouble sleeping in their beds and just want to be able to sleep with their spouse again. His organization has bought several Tempur-Pedic or similar mattresses for that reason.

One such veteran is Omar Milan, 35, who enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2000 and served one tour in Iraq as a field radio operator before being discharged in 2004. He later enlisted in the Air Force Reserve and trained as an explosive ordnance disposal technician. And then he reenlisted in the Marine Corps and was deployed twice during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

On that second deployment, he was with a team gathering evidence from a blast from an IED – an improvised explosive device, commonly used as a roadside bomb – on Jan. 9, 2012. Milan had placed a disposal charge on an IED to destroy it and was walking away when he stepped on another that metal detectors had not located.

He lost his right leg below the knee and suffered severe damage to his left calf, both hands and his right elbow as well as other injuries. He remembers the pain from a broken collar bone but not much more until he woke up in a military hospital a month later. He had vague memories of his 30th birthday. He would be in the hospital for two years.

Local Marine officials put him in touch with Cowtown Warriors. He and others met for pizza with founder Jeremy Spann. “He’s asking everyone what do they need as far as stuff,” Milan said. “Most guys, you know, say, ‘Everything’s good and stuff.’ I’d say about nine times out of 10, there’s always something that they need, but they’re not going to let you know.”

Goodroe recalls a request for a lawnmower so the vet could mow the lawn, “which led to a gate that had to be widened and a ramp that led to the front door. Very basic stuff,” he said. “We have another vet that we remodeled a bathroom for to make handicapped-accessible.”

“We’ve paid rent for people to avoid eviction. We bought bicycles for students who need to get around campus. We remodeled several homes, widening the doorways, tearing up carpet, putting wood floors down because they have mobility issues and they’re in a wheelchair. We’ve paid for some school,” Wegner said.

“We weren’t the most efficient organization, and when we linked up with Vet Worthy, not only did it make our lives easier, it made the organization a much better organization. It added a lot of structure to it,” Wegner said. “Now we can rely on an individual who gets paid by Goodwill.”

Cowtown Warriors would like to increase its visibility in the community. The organization has had no trouble selling out its events, Wegner says, but there may be others out there looking for a way to assist disabled veterans, whether that is direct donations, sponsorships at the ball, buying tables or volunteering.

“There’s a lot of military people here in this town that could step up to the plate and write a thousand-dollar check as a donation,” Goodroe said. “There could be some business owners that could step in with their companies and help support it, even if they don’t come to the dinner.”

The military services operate Warrior Transition Units – closely resembling line units – at bases and major military treatment facilities so that wounded veterans can focus on healing before rejoining military units or returning to civilian status. Some are community-based, meaning that the service member can return home while basically remaining in the military and complete his or her rehabilitation with local physicians and other medical personnel.

The first Cowtown Warriors fundraising was in partnership with the Wounded Warrior battalion in Quantico, Virginia. “But now it’s grown to all disabled veterans – not just that very specific wounded warrior regiment out of Quantico but any branch,” Wegner said.