A Wheels for Warriors Car Show and POW/MIA Tribute Ceremony will be held Sunday, Sept. 18 at the Lake View Loft near Hillsboro.
Proceeds from the event will be used to support the Save A Warrior Foundation that works to prevent suicides and heal post traumatic stress among the nation’s veterans, active duty military members, and first responders.
A 250-acre property in Highland County was donated to Save A Warrior by an anonymous donor in late 2020. Save A Warrior serves veterans, active duty military members, and first responders from all 50 states through operations in the Hillsboro facility and those in California. The organization was founded by Ronald “Jake” Clark in 2012 in Malibu, California.
The foundation has created a 75-hour retreat-based program typically experienced by groups of around 10 participants or “cohorts.” The program does not involve medication, and the groups of cohorts are “warrior-led” by people who are trained after having been participants. The program has been shown to have an efficacy rate of more than 99.6 percent.
Denise Mootz, who is coordinating and sponsoring the event along with her husband, Charlie Mootz, said she expects the car show to be a large event. “I think it’s going to be huge with well over a hundred cars,” she said. Along with Lake View Loft, the event is being sponsored by Nutrien Ag Solutions, Ag-Pro and Sherwood Auto & Campers.
“We’re hoping to raise $5,000 at a minimum,” said Mootz. “It’s our first year, so we don’t really have a clue what we’re going to bring in, but we’re hoping for $5,000.”
The country band East of Austin is donating its time to perform all day at the car show. Local singer and guitarist Alexis Tomkins will also be performing.
The show of motorcycles, cars and trucks will also include food trucks and an inflatable jump house for kids. A local bakery will be set up at the event as well.
Twenty trophies will be awarded for the winning vehicles at the show.
“We wouldn’t have the freedoms we have without what all of our military people have done, so to me I just think anything related to veterans and people who have served our country is worthwhile,” said Mootz. “Those people should not be forgotten.”
Stephanie Roland, the outreach coordinator for Highland County Veterans Services, will host a ceremony to honor Highland County’s POWs and MIAs.
“Their families are going to be there, so they’re going to be honored, and then we are going to honor all the veterans in attendance as well that day at the ceremony which starts at noon,” said Mootz.
Roland said Highland County Veterans Services is aware of seven Highland County family members who had a service member who was either a prisoner of war or still missing in action. At least one member of each of the families has been notified by mail about the event.
“Though we aren’t aware of any of our Highland County former POWs still living, we know that their families also endured sacrifice during their captivity — and many saw the effects for the rest of their respective family member’s life,” said Roland. “We must continue to never forget these individuals that truly sacrificed — some with a life different than it may have been, some with their life itself.”
The event is scheduled to coincide with National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which falls on the Friday preceding the car show.
In the event of rain, the show will be moved to Sunday, Sept. 25. Participants in the show can register between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. the day of the show for $10.
Everyone is welcome to attend the event, and there is no admission fee. Attendees should enter the show from Hightop Road and people will be shuttled from the parking area to the event.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.