Monday, February 15, 2016

Folds of Honor Moves Into North Texas Looking For Support For The Families Of Veterans

Folds Of Honor Kickoff
Photo Credit: Mark Anthony Nelson and Bob Manzano

On February 3, hostess Valerie Istre opened her gorgeous Highland Park home to an intimate crowd of 100 plus for a reception celebrating the North Texas chapter of Folds of Honor. Military veterans including board members Col. Allen West and Capt. Phil Appenzeller, Jr., along with double Purple Heart recipient Joe Reyna mixed and mingled with powerhouse philanthropists Lynn McBee, Carmen Surgent, LeeAnne Locken and Rich Emberlin, Brandi Redmond, Stephanie Hollman, Dee Simmons, Amanda and Lloyd Ward, Trevor Strawhecker, Lindsay Lee McCain, Cary Deuber and Jonika Nix for an evening of sharing stories and garnering support for the families of fallen soldiers. My Father was a Marine in Vietnam and my maternal Grandfather was a doctor in Africa during WWII. On my husband's side of the family, his father dedicated 20+ years of service to our Country serving in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Lieutenant Commander. He then went on to work for the Secret Service, doing special projects for several years. Fortunately, I have not experienced the loss of a family member through war, but I have most certainly been raised to look at their service with reverence and appreciation so I am always eager to support organizations like this one. The refreshingly eclectic group was eager to learn more about the ambitious organization that grants more than $10.5 million annually in educational scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen or disabled service men and women nationwide. While the North Texas chapter is still young, its more established big brother, headquartered in Tulsa, Okla., boasts an impressive resume of corporate partners like Budweiser, Coca-Cola, the PGA and Southwest Airlines. For more information about Folds of Honor North Texas visit

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Istre welcomed everyone to her home and thanked patrons for attending the soirée. Istre’s fiancé, Doug Steel, is a former F-16 fighter pilot, but her heart for the cause first stemmed from the loss of her father, United States Army Sgt. Carl James Hackler, who was in a tragic accident months before she was born. VA scholarships helped to supplement the cost of her degree, but she wished she had support from an organization like Folds of Honor when she attended Oklahoma State University. Folds of Honor regional development officer and ambassador, Sarah White shared compelling words about her late father, Capt. Dennis Michael White of the United States Air Force, whose fatal crash while on a routine fight check left Sarah, her mom and her brother heartbroken and financially burdened. Folds of Honor stepped in and granted White a scholarship for her bachelor’s degree, and just a few years after graduating, the organization employed her full-time. She now dedicates her time to helping students like herself as a national spokesperson for the organization. Not a dry eye was in the house as she mentioned that February 3, 2016 (the evening of the reception) would have been her father’s fifty-fifth birthday. For more information about Folds of Honor North Texas visit

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