October Newsletter 2016


OCTOBER 14th – Freedom Friday First annual Octoberfest
15th – 
264th Med Bat Spiritual Fitness retreat
22nd – 22 Until None retreat
29th – Chaplain 50th Birthday Day retreat

NOVEMBER11th – Freedom Friday Veterans Day –“Cigar Smoke Off”
12th – 13th Boy Scout retreat
24th – Thanksgiving

DECEMBER 3rd– E Co 536th BSB Camp Bullis
9th – Freedom Friday “Country Christmas Wine Tasting”
10th – 302nd Engineer Company Camp Bullis
24th – Christmas Eve
25th – Christmas Day

Cheerfully Built; Cheerfully Supported

Whether its a phone call from the Cancer Society, Girl Scout Cookies, or the passing of the offering plate at church, we have all been there.  That is, we have all been in situations where we feel obligated to give.  Obligation is not a stirring motivation for giving.  In fact, if a sense of obligation is the prevailing reason people are supporting a cause, its days are numbered!  The Bible reminds us that obligation is exactly the wrong reason to give! “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2Corinthians 9:7 ESV)

One of the great things about the SS American Memorial is that it was built by volunteers who cheerfully contributed their time, talents and money to bring a vision to reality.  They did this because they believed in the mission of helping Wounded Warriors recover and helping all types of Americans restore their priorities of God, Family and Country.

When we believe in something and we see it growing and expanding, we can get behind it with excitement.  We can cheerfully support the mission of the SS American Memorial because we can see it working in real people’s lives to make a difference for our future as Americans.  May the SS American Memorial always have a long line of cheerful supporters who give for no other reason than that they love being a part of something that is so positive and meaningful to so many.

Rev. Tom Masterson
Pastor, Hope Church San Antonio
Chaplain, SS American Memorial

Benevolence Support

In 2015 the SS American Memorial in conjunction with Wish for our Heroes distributed over $22,000 in financial aid to active duty, veterans, and Americans in need.  To date, for 2016, the SS American Memorial Foundation in conjunction with Wish for our Heroes has distributed over $25,000 in financial aid to active duty, veterans, and Americans in need. 100% of donations to the SS American Memorial Foundation have been distributed back to Americans in need.



Don’t miss the upcoming Freedom Friday on November 11th “VETERANS DAY” – bring the entire family out and come “THANK” a Veteran.  CLUB HUMIDOR San Antonio will be on-premises with the nation’s only mobile “CIGAR LOUNGE” – for you cigars aficionado’s this is a must-attend event!


It started 36 years ago as I walked into the local gym in San Antonio to “pump some iron” as the saying goes.  As I walked by the weights I noticed a gentlemen wearing a Navy t-shirt grunting over some heavy lifting.  The Navy t-shirt caught my eye as I has just recently finished up my 4-year stint in the Navy.  I asked the gentlemen if the shirt was from experience, he replied yes and commenced to put a vice grip handshake on me.  My father had told me at a young age that you can generally judge the character of a man by the strength of his handshake.  I immediately realized this was not just any old joe -this was a mans, mans!

For the next 36 years, I watched the “THE WALK” of this Vietnam Vet 14 years my senior.  Over the years we developed a friendship that included business and personal with him entrusting in me as a new young property and casualty insurance agent with all his commercial insurance.  At the time I met this man the real-estate industry and the oil industry, just like today was fixing to take a fall – when the industry dropped it took many business down and it was not kind to the Vietnam Vet as well.  It was during this same time that the Vietnam warrior took on the challenge to build his shipmates a memorial in Texas dedicated to the memory and sacrifices of those who served in our nation’s armed forces. So their willingness to meet and overcome the most difficult of tests will never be forgotten.

Over the next number of years, I watched as this warrior kept his composure and his perseverance holding numerous 10K runs and walks to raise money to pay down the $600,000 plus debt on the bronze memorial statue and memorial grounds.

Website info: History will show that the average contribution was $5.00. It was a classic grassroots fundraising effort. The “man on the street” can shoulder full credit for this inspiring tribute to the memory and sacrifices of our veterans –

On November 9th, 1986 founder John D. Baines (native Texan) and his shipmates along with an estimated 10,000 veterans, family members, active duty military personnel, and citizens from across the country attended the dedication ceremony for the “VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL OF SAN ANTONIO”.

I am sure if you asked the Vietnam Navy Seabee where his “never quit”  attitude was defined, it was from his numerous tours in the jungles of Vietnam with his shipmates at his back.

As the years went by my career as a young entrepreneur took many turns with me going to the Vietnam vet for advice and guidance on numerous occasions. His mentorship while not fully realized until 30 years later has in many ways lead me down the road of today.

TODAY, while the old Vietnam Vet at age 70 is getting a little long in the tooth he resides in Seguin with his lovely wife Diane. The old warrior and I meet once a month to have breakfast and discuss the situation of today – his never quit attitude is still there, his ramrod straight statue is that of a true warrior,  and his HANDSHAKE is that of a man of TRUE CHARACTER – OLD SCHOOL!

Funny how God works!

It has been a privilege and honor to call John Delavan Baines a friend and SHIPMATE!  

COME JOIN US NOVEMBER 1, 2016, 10:00-11:00 AM at the steps of the Tobin Center for Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, San Antonio, TX 78205 – In honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.


Soldiers, Soldiers, Soldiers!

R&R retreats within the military community continue to expand here at the SS American Memorial.  What started with the Warrior Transition Battalion at BMAC now includes 264th and 328th Medical Battalions Fort Sam Houston, E Company 536th BSB Camp Bullis, Sigal Battalion Ft. Sam Houston, 302nd Engineer Company Camp Bullis, and Army Reserve and National Guard Units.

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