Galena Park ISD students stepped up the plate and greatly exceeded expectations as they raised more than $68,500 to help provide a home for an injured Houston-area veteran during the month of October 2007 through the Wounded Home Hero Program.
The program was spearheaded by seventh-grade students in the Scholars’ Academy, a joint venture between Galena Park ISD and San Jacinto College North. This partnership is the first in the nation to raise money for a veteran in this manner. These seventh-grade students visited every elementary and middle school in the district to share the vision of giving back to a wounded hero who has given so much for America.
What makes the total of $68,510.50 more amazing is that students only had one month to raise that much money. Students told teachers that they were donating birthday money, money earned through chores or allowance money for this worthy cause. Some students even scraped money from underneath the couch cushions while others brought change collected from automobile floorboards and even more emptied their piggy banks to help.
“It is amazing to see the outpouring of love by our students,” said Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools. “These students gave everything they had to help out someone in our military who has done so much for our country. This whole project was driven by our students, they deserve all the credit.”
North Shore Senior High School students pitched in an incredible amount of $11,347.40 for the program while Galena Park High School students donated a total of $7,025.10 and North Shore Elementary students gave an incredible amount of $6,426.74.
Local businesses and civic organizations quickly jumped on board as the program began to snowball and the North Shore Rotary Club has pledged to match the district’s goal of $50,000 to help purchase a home in the area for an injured veteran. GPISD alumni have also responded to the challenge and have raised nearly $5,000 so far to help purchase furniture for the home.
Once the money was raised the challenge then turned to deciding which of the deserving injured veterans would be the recipient of this new home. The district conducted thorough research on military personnel from the Houston area that were injured during combat in recent years. The decision was then made to award the house to Anthony Thompson, a third-class petty officer in the U.S. Navy. Thompson is from the Huffman area and he and his wife, Ivonne, have a three-month old son. Their new home will be built in the Summerwood community and will be ready for the family this summer.