Central Texas Heroes: memorable moments of 2017

WACO, Texas (KWTX) KWTX News 10 has been honored Central Texas veterans have shared their stories with us for the past year so we can bring them to you.

Veteran photos displayed on the wall of Veterans One Stop in Waco

You can see new veterans each Monday at 5:00 p.m. on KWTX and 9:00 p.m. on CW 12.

Here is a look back at some of the moments of 2017.

In January you heard from Danny Anderson.

He was troubled by the disrespect of veterans returning from Vietnam, despite his appearance at the time.

"I had long hair with a fatigue shirt and a peace sign on it and I said you know what, take that off, I have to join the Army, get to Vietnam, and find out what's going on and do my part,"

And he did and went on to become president of his American Legion post.

In February Michael Bey spoke with us.

Michael Bey was on tour in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

"We had intel that we had a high target meaning someone off the blacklist," Bey said, "it was actually Saddam Hussein's uncle."

His unit was on a mission to bring in Fadhil Al-Azawi, an Iraqi intelligence officer and Saddam Hussein's uncle and confidante.

Adrienne Evans-Quickley shared her experiences in a two part series in March.

She joined the Army in the early 1970s and served overseas in Cambodia during the Vietnam era.

She even broke down barriers serving in the military police.

"I was one of the first females assigned to Fort Richie, Maryland," Evans-Quickley told us.

And as part of those duties she worked at Camp David.

Harker Heights City Councilwoman Jackeline Fountain first joined active duty in 1980 and ended up going to airborne school and working in a service company for the Green Berets.

But a few years into her military career she switched her occupational specialty, entering the chemical field.

"I would make sure that their protective gear was good, their training was good, and they would be able to survive in their environment,"

And that was especially important in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.

We heard about her decades of service in June.

Many combat veterans come home with wounds that may never completely heal.

The Purple Heart is awarded to those wounded in combat.

And the Military Order of the Purple Heart is there to help connect those veterans with the benefits to which they're entitled.

But it also provides a support system of individuals who have been through the same thing.

John Footman is one of the Central Texas Heroes who keeps the organization going and he spoke with us in July.

"First one, I was wounded in my left leg. I was hit with shrapnel in my left leg. My second wound was when I got blown up on a 113, APC (armored personnel carrier)," Footman told us.

Footman served two tours in Vietnam but his second injury almost changed his life forever.

"We hit a 60 pound mine," he said, "I stayed in the hospital about three weeks and I was told I wasn't going to walk anymore."

But he did.

Von Otto spent his years in the Air Force maintaining aircraft weapons systems, but he also added some extra color to a world of Air Force blue.

"Every duty station I was at everybody wanted this painted in the break room or the NCO Club or the Enlisted Club,"

He told us how he uses his art now to donate to auctions benefiting veterans and military causes.

For Major Jason Righteous Norwood who's still on active duty, it wasn't enough to graduate from one of the toughest military academies in the nation.

He quickly looked for new challenges

"I found mixed martial arts, and the rest is history."

He also works to improve the lives of active duty service members through his position at Fort Hood, as well as members of the community.

And you saw a moment some 50 years in the making, the marriage of two people very much in love witnessed by family and friends.

But three unseen guests brought Bart and Lynn smith to that point, tragedy, time, and fate.

After PTSD and the trauma of combat tore them apart, they were remarried at the KWTX studios on Veterans Day, November 11.

They were married by Robert Carter, the chaplain at Veterans One Stop.

A few short weeks later, Carter was killed in a crash in East Texas.

"We all want to make a mark on this world, and Robert Carter made his mark, he made a big one," said DeLisa Russell, director of Veterans One Stop in Waco.

You could find Robert "Popeye" Carter in the office every time the doors were open.

As chaplain of Veterans One Stop, he helped build the non-profit geared toward helping veterans into what it is today.

"I have been fortunate enough in my life to have some very good friends," Bill Mahon told us, "I had a closer relationship with Robert than I had with anybody in my family."

Robert was a Vietnam era and Gulf War vet himself.

"If a veteran needed somethng, he would find a way. That veteran may never know it came from Robert Carter, but he would help provide a solution," Russell told us.

Early on in 2017, Robert Carter shared his story of service with us.

He had great respect and a heart for serving his fellow veterans.

Carter told us, "the guys that went out and did it are dedicated, they do it for the country and they do it for each other."