We’d like to introduce you to the father and daughter team responsible for the very first LSF Collegiate Chapter and the Lone Survivor Foundation PRS Benefit Match. This family has already raised more than enough to fund an entire therapeutic retreat! Read on to learn how the founder of Texas A&M LSF and a former fighter pilot are supporting wounded service members and their families and how you can get involved too.
My involvement with the Foundation stems from asking my daughter Brooke to read the book “Lone Survivor” prior to her beginning her Freshman year at Texas A&M as a pre-med student. Having an engineering degree myself, I knew she would face many mental challenges undertaking a difficult curriculum. Brooke wanted to get involved in community service at school and wanted to do something to support veterans. After becoming involved in an organization, Brooke did not see eye to eye with leaders within and was asked to leave (never tell a fighter pilot’s daughter you can’t…). Rather than quit on her efforts to support veterans, she decided to start her own organization. Brooke contacted the Lone Survivor Foundation in Houston and had approval from the Foundation and Texas A&M within a few days. I offered Brooke advice and insight to start and quickly became involved in the TAMU LSF Chapter.
Howdy! My name is Brooke Ferguson and I am the founder of the first collegiate chapter of the Lone Survivor Foundation. I graduated from Texas A&M University in December of 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science and I will be returning back to get my graduate degree in Health Administration. I have been volunteering with the foundation since May of 2014 and started the chapter in September of 2014. Texas A&M LSF was the first of its kind on Texas A&M’s campus to discuss difficult subjects such as PTSD and TBI. Texas A&M has also been ranked the number 1 school in the country for veterans, so what better place to make an impact than the place where many of them go to start a civilian life again?
I’ve felt a connection with the mission of LSF from day one, and that’s why I wanted to expand it to college campuses. The people I have met through the organization have left an impact on my life, and I can see that what the foundation does truly aids in their healing. It’s not an organization where you can’t see where your money or time goes, and getting to know the people that we have helped along the way has driven me to continue to aid in their healing process no matter what.
I was raised in a very small town in upstate NY, near West Point. The area is very rich in military history dating back to the revolutionary war. I decided in college to pursue a career that would allow me to use my physical abilities as well as mental and not be stuck in an office the rest of my life. I wanted a challenge in life and set my goals on becoming a fighter pilot. Of course I was told by everyone (except my family) that I’d never make it. I graduated college with a mechanical engineering degree and entered USAF flight school at Reese AFB, Lubbock, TX in 1988. I was one of 4 out of the 20 that got their wings to be assigned to a fighter aircraft. I flew the A-10 as a Flying Tiger (sharks teeth on the nose) in Louisiana and deployed to the Gulf in September of 1990. I served in operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield as an A-10 pilot. My mission in the A-10 was close air support and to take out targets that were a threat to our ground troops. I feel that I was chosen to fly the A-10 with its unique mission for a reason. Twenty five plus years later it is all making sense with my involvement with the Foundation. Post-Gulf War, our base was closed and I became an instructor pilot in the T-38 teaching undergraduate and instructor course pilot training. I served active duty for 8 years and became a commercial airline pilot in 1996, which I remain currently and have now made Captain twice!
The Precision Rifle Match to benefit the Lone Survivor Foundation was a vision I had. I became active in the precision rifle community and competitions and realized that there were many great people shooting matches that also served in numerous capacities. I gravitated to the community as it reminded me of the loyalty and brotherhood we had in a fighter squadron. I wanted to do something that involved my daughter, the students in the chapter and the shooters that shared the same bond. The rifle match is a way to bring all of us together to serve and continue doing our part. Many of us have been there, done that, but we are not finished. I feel it is important for generations of warriors to stay involved and pass on the knowledge and support that was given to us. There are many extremely generous and talented people out there. The rifle match is our way of coming together to enjoy what we love while benefiting those that need our help.
There are several ways to become involved in the rifle match. If you are a precision rifle shooter, this is one of the top matches in the country and in the Precision Rifle Series. If you are a supporter and can donate cash or prizes for the event, a strong prize table brings more shooters in and generates more in donations for the Foundation. If you want to be around the most humble skilled shooters in the world and receive more thank you’s than you’ve ever received in a weekend, then volunteer to help work the event. We serve meals from Friday evening to Sunday lunch for about 300 at each meal. More information about the match and volunteering can be found on www.TXPrecisonMatches.com.
My favorite volunteer activity was actually an event that my parents and I put on. My mom and Dad put countless hours into hosting the first ever Precision Rifle Match 100% benefiting the Lone Survivor Foundation. I loved this event because as a family, we have all found a cause that we relate to and support.
I chose to support our wounded service members because I noticed that the one thing that they needed was support. When I first volunteered, many of the veterans I spoke to impacted my life and really made me rethink about the way I looked at life. They showed me how precious life was and that not all wounds are visible.
I would just like to thank all of the volunteers and supporters of this foundation. I’ve seen first-hand that even one person can make a difference in a veteran’s life. I truly feel that as Americans, it is our duty to serve those who have served us, because I know if I was the one needing help, they wouldn’t think twice about helping me. Our service members are what make this country so great, and I believe that they should never go without support from the American people, especially in a time of need on their behalf.
To sign up for our Volunteer Force, please visit www.lonesurvivorfoundation.org/volunteer
If you’re interested in starting an LSF Collegiate Chapter or hosting your own beneficiary event, please contact us