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South Texas Living


La Vernia Connections: Greater LV C of C welcomes Shilo Harris


La Vernia Connections: Greater LV C of C welcomes Shilo Harris
ELAINE STEPHENS/Courtesy Wounded Warrior Shilo Harris speaks at the Greater La Vernia Chamber of Commerce meeting May 2 at Witte’s Bar-B-Que & Catering.


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Elaine M. Stephens
May 9, 2012
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Local business leaders welcomed Wounded Warrior Shilo Harris as guest speaker at the Greater La Vernia Chamber of Commerce (GLVCC) meeting on May 2 at Witte’s Bar-B-Que & Catering in La Vernia.

Harris shared his story of being wounded in Iraq, and the long recovery after almost losing his life. Harris said his two tours in Iraq impressed upon him “just how wonderful life is here. Basic things we take for granted are unknown in that country. Many children wear the same clothes every day for a year.”

During his service in the U.S. Army, Harris was among troops assigned to clear dangerous roads of buried explosives in Iraq. On Feb. 19, 2007, a 600-pound explosive detonated under his platoon truck, which was third in the envoy. The explosion blew off the top of the heavy armed truck, leaving Harris and the driver as the only survivors of the five-man crew.

The enormous impact of the explosion was so great that the massive vehicle was “embedded into the asphalt” after being blown upwards, making it almost impossible to escape the burning truck. Recalling the fiery incident, Harris said, “I immediately had big problems; my uniform was on fire, burning my skin, and I was carrying a full pack of ammo pouches.”

Following 48 days in a coma, double pneumonia, the loss of several fingers, both ears, and most of his nose, and suffering from extensive burns, Harris left Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio after six months with a long road of rehabilitation and adjustments ahead of him and his family.

Today, Harris counts his blessings and “wants to give back to the community.” Asked how we can best help Wounded Warriors, he replied, “These men and women are highly skilled workers with hundreds of hours of training who have had the responsibility for millions of dollars of equipment. When you hire a vet, you are hiring a valuable member of your team.”

Harris also praised the efforts of the Wounded Warrior project, especially the fishing weekends, which “impressed me with the careful attention to the special needs of the Wounded Warriors, which includes firemen and policemen. The fishing guides even provided special misters for the protection of our burned skin,” he said.

The GLVCC meeting included reports on the Business Directory, which is at the printer, the Keep La Vernia Beautiful project, and their Facebook page statistics. Members approved a paper-shredding service to be implemented soon and tabled a discussion of a possible fund-raiser. Winner of the drawing for “Spotlight Member of the Month” was Anytime Fitness La Vernia.

Future meetings will be June 6 at the Bluebonnet Restaurant at noon with Cynthia Buerkle, CPA, as guest speaker; a Social Media workshop sponsored by the GLVCC on June 12 from 6-9 p.m. at LV High School; a Fish Fry and Mixer on June 21 at City Park hosted by the La Vernia Parks Foundation; and a regular monthly meeting at noon on July 11 at Witte’s.

For more information, visit www.LaVerniaChamber.com.

Stephens is the president of the La Vernia Historical Association.
 

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