From the Office of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte

For Immediate Release
January 29, 2013
Contact: Lee Nichols, 512-463-0126

Wounded Warriors Day January 30 at Capitol

(Austin) — Wednesday, January 30, will be Wounded Warriors Day at the Texas State Capitol. As Chair of the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations (VAMI) Committee, Senator Leticia Van de Putte (District 26, Bexar County) will proudly recognize six such warriors with resolutions on the Senate floor after Wednesday's session begins at 11 a.m.

Later that day, from 2 to 3 p.m., the VAMI Committee Office will host a reception where quilts will be presented to the Wounded Warriors from Quilts of Valor. The reception is open to the public. The VAMI Committee office is located in Room 345 of the Sam Houston Building, 201 E. 14th St. (immediately northeast of the Capitol Building).

Sen. Van de Putte's fellow VAMI members are Senators Wendy Davis, Donna Campbell, Jose Rodriguez, and Brian Birdwell.

"Being Chair of the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee is by far the best part of my job as a legislator," said Senator Van de Putte. "Getting to meet, work with, and recognize brave warriors like these six service members is a privilege. It's always an honor to fight for those who fought for us. I know the other members of the VAMI Committee agree."

Following are bios of the Wounded Warriors being honored:

LCpl Ivan Sears (Marine Corps)
Originally from San Antonio, LCpl Sears was deployed to the Marjah, Helmand Province in Afghanistan with the 2/6 RCT 1, 1st Marine Division out of Camp Lejune, NC. He had both legs amputated below the knee due to an IED during dismounted security operations in 2010.

SGT Paul Roberts (Army Reserves)
Originally from Austin, SGT Roberts joined the Army in 1989, served four years on active duty and was honorably discharged. He missed the military lifestyle and joined the Army Reserves 17 years later and volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan in 2011 with Bravo Company 7-158 Aviation Chinook Unit out of Kansas. Crewing as the left door gunner, his helicopter was shot down by an IED on Thanksgiving Day in 2011. SGT Roberts is now in the Warrior Transition Battalion receiving treatment for a Traumatic Brain Injury and spinal injuries.

SSgt Mark Juarez (Marine Corps)
Originally from Floresville, SSgt Juarez was deployed to Sangin City, Afghanistan. He was shot in the head while on a foot patrol in 2010. He is recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury, hemipleasya to the right side, nerve damage, and a 3rd degree burn to his right forearm. He is married to Amy and has three daughters, Elisabeth, Ella, and Emily.

Tracie M. Harris (Air Force)
Tracie joined the Air Force in January of 1998. She started her first 4 years of service as a security forces police officer. When it came time to reenlist, Tracie cross trained as a military working dog handler, then reenlisted for another six years. During Tracie's almost 11 years of service she was stationed at Travis Air Force Base, California, and Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany. During this time Tracie was deployed six times. Twice to Kuwait, once to Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, Bahrain and Iraq. Tracie has been awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal four times, the Outstanding Unit Medal five times, the Enduring Freedom Medal and Iraqi Campaign Medal.

CW4 Jerry Hamilton (Army)
Originally from Lane, South Dakota, CW4 Hamilton enlisted in the Army in 1995 as a Chinook crew member. He went to Korea for one year and Germany for three years where he had three deployments to Macedonia, Kosovo as a Flight Engineer. In 1999, he was accepted into flight school and attended the following year. He graduated at the top of his class and chose to fly Chinooks. Stationed at Fort Bragg after flight school, he deployed to Afghanistan twice and Iraq once. He served as a flight instructor for 5 years at his two following assignments before moving to Fort Campbell. Within two months of arriving at Fort Campbell, CW4 Hamilton deployed to Afghanistan for a third time and was hit by shrapnel from a rocket within two weeks of arriving. He is receiving treatment for shrapnel to his upper left leg, a shattered femur, and damage to his sciatic nerve.

SPC Cody Miller (Army)
Originally from Golden, Mississippi, SPC Miller enlisted in the Army in June of 2010 and was stationed with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. He served in the heavy weapons platoon for five months and then moved to the scout platoon. SPC Miller deployed to Afghanistan in May 2012. While on a route over-watch for a nearby COP, he and his fellow soldiers received fire from a mountain behind them. SPC Miller was shot in his left arm. He received a tendon transfer and is receiving treatment for nerve damage.