GLO & VLB Celebrate 3rd Annual Veterans Day Program

GLO Veterans Day Program Blog Image
Jim Hornfischer, Marine Color Guard, Commissioner Bush

On Monday, November 9, 2015 the Texas General Land Office (GLO) and the Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) held the 3rd Annual Veterans Day Program to honor all Veterans who work for the GLO, VLB and beyond. The event was sponsored by the agency’s Cultural Awareness Council, whose mission is to create cultural awareness and opportunities through education and action at the GLO.

The program commenced with the presentation of colors by Weapons Company 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines and the National Anthem. James Crabtree, Program Coordinator for the Voices of Veterans Oral History Program, welcomed the Veterans and honored guests, followed by opening remarks from Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) State of Texas Commander Dan West. Commander West served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1983 to 1994, and graciously provided the Buddy Poppies for the event on behalf of the Texas VFW

GLO Vets day Backback
Backpack for a homeless Veteran

Three VLB employees, Monica Brown, Kim Mangum and Rosie Jakobeit, presented 50 backpacks and a check for $660 to Andrew Miller, Program Coordinator for the HUD-VASH Program (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program) for homeless Veterans.

For the third year in a row, Brown, Mangum and Jakobeit organized multiple fundraising efforts for the purchase of personal care items to fill 50 backpacks — the most they’ve ever donated to the HUD-VASH Program. Because the fundraising efforts were so successful, a surplus of funds was leftover after the necessary items were purchased, and this was donated as well.

Special thanks were given to two other VLB employees, Robin Rankin and Judy Westlake, for crocheting 50 hats and scarves to be included in the backpacks. These items were handmade by Rankin and Westlake, during their own time, with love and care. Many thanks also go to the other VLB employees who helped assemble the backpacks.

Crabtree and Bush
(L-R) James Crabtree & Commissioner Bush

George P. Bush, Texas Land Commissioner and Chairman of the Texas Veterans Land Board, expressed his admiration for those who wear the uniform including his grandfather, George H. W. Bush, who inspired Commissioner Bush to join the military and do his part to serve our country.

Commissioner Bush gave heartfelt thanks to the Texas Veterans Land Board team for their dedicated service to Veterans every day.

“The quiet work of the Veterans Land Board never ceases to amaze me. Wherever I travel throughout the state, people immediately draw upon this agency as a source of pride for all Texans,” said Commissioner Bush. “What you do here each and every day matters. Whether it’s helping a Veteran own their own piece of the great state of Texas, or making sure there’s a place that they can rest with honor, dignity and respect, you truly do make a difference.”

Commissioner Bush then introduced Jim Hornfischer, a celebrated author, literary agent and naval historian. He has written many New York Times bestsellers including Service: A Navy SEAL at War and Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR’s Lost Cruiser and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors.

Hornfischer spoke passionately about the importance of listening to Veterans talk about their experiences in their own words, instead of simply reading an after-action report or working from documents and photographs that have been left behind. He recalled an interview with World War II Veteran Bud Comet who was a sailor aboard the USS Samuel B. Roberts when it was sunk by a shell launched from a Japanese battleship in 1944.

(L-R) VLB employees Essie Salazar and Sherry Brown attend the event | Color Guard from Weapons Co. 1/23
Texas VFW State Commander Dan West
(L-R) Andrew Miller, Monica Brown, Kim Mangum and Rosie Jakobeit | VLB Employees Robin Rankin & Judy Westlake show off samples of their work
(L-R) VLB Employees who assembled the bags for homeless Veterans: Kim Mangum, Anne Evenson, Jimmy Smaragdis, Monica Brown, Keisha James, Rosie Jakobeit and Denise Niedzialek | Commissioner George P. Bush & Jim Hornfischer
(L-R) Commander Dan West, Honored Guest & Andrew Miller | The Texas General Land Office has many honored Veterans on staff