Left- Grand Marshalls from 2015 and 2016 enjoying the 2016 Showcase for Valor.
Right- Marine veteran, Chris Hamilton performing again with his band, Valor and Lace at the 2016 concert.
Photos courtesy of Pradhan Studios
The first Showcase for Valor featured a tribute to the 25 Marines from the Darkhorse Battalion who were killed in action during the 2010 deployment to Afghanistan. Marine veterans carried small tribute banners as a narrator somberly read the name of each Marine while a photograph of the Marine was displayed on a giant screen. A black horse, representing Darkhorse - the 3/5's nickname - arrived, riderless, with boots backwards in the stirrups. This symbol of a fallen hero was another visible reminder of the sacrifice we honor on Memorial Day.
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An emotionally charged event during the first concert was when a Marine told a Gold Star mother, “I am alive today because of your son.” It was profoundly moving to watch these men shed tears while paying their respects to these families in person, for the first time. This long-awaited encounter provided some healing to these war-hardened men, who continually grieve the same loses as the Gold Star families.
Showcase for Valor was made possible with the generous donations of our sponsors and the Nellie Gail Ranch Owners Association. Thank you to all who contributed! The support you show our Marines is appreciated, by us and by the Marines of 3/5.
Proceeds from the concert are used for the Team Darkhorse Life Line Grants which are given primarily to wounded veterans of the Darkhorse Battalion.
One of Team Darkhorse's newest members, Brittany Tran, the very significant other of veteran Raymond Orozco, shared her thoughts on the day, and what it means to the Marines to have the support of our community...
SHOWCASE FOR VALOR 2016 SPONSORS
$5,000 PLATINUM LEVEL SPONSOR
Eagle Scout project of Zak Bettey
$1,000 GOLD LEVEL SPONSORS
Karen and Dave Robbins
Deidre and Alan Spalding
Barry Gillespie and Vanessa Kon
Margaret J. Larson
Lucy and Mike Peak
Pamela and Cecil Fraser
Diane and Nolan Ryan Jr.
Laura and Bob Dickson
Friends and family of Marianne Powers
"This past Memorial Day weekend, I had the pleasure of volunteering with Team Dark Horse at the Showcase for Valor in Gallup Park. The Gold Star families of LCPL Irvin Ceniceros and 1st LT Robert Kelly, amputee and Grand Marshal Marcus Chischilly, as well as 20+ Marines who fought alongside the 25 killed-in-action were present for event.
These Marines share a bond over blood, a bond truly nonpareil. They came home from war, continued their lives in different parts of the world and came together on this day in honor of their lost battle brothers. Many of the Marines hadn’t seen each other in years and picked up with a playful tackle and a teasing pleasantry, something expected of true brotherhood. Stories were told, laughs were shared, and flashes of understanding and remembrances were passed in reflection of the 25 fallen, followed by more teasing and jokes. One thing was most apparent; they were all completely elated to reunite.
There is a special place in my heart for the fallen Marines of 3/5 whom I never met. But I've seen first-hand the affect they have on the ones that made it home. My boyfriend, Raymond, strives to live a righteous life in homage of his brothers, one they would be proud of. I've witnessed the internal struggles and remorse as they wonder if more could've been done to save the lost, as the whys and what-ifs haunt them. As such, this event honoring their brothers meant more to The Boys of 3/5 than words can express.
In 2015 and 2016, Team Darkhorse and the Nellie Gail Ranch Owners Association produced the "Showcase for Valor" concert on the Memorial Day week-end. The public concert was held at Gallup Park in Nellie Gail Ranch.
The entertainment included performances by veterans who became professional musicians following their military service. In some cases, music therapy was essential to their recovery from post traumatic stress.
An emotional ceremony that honors military members who were killed in action helped to remind those attending the concert of the true meaning of Memorial Day.