Monday, August 31, 2015

UTSA student and family honored by U.S. Army for volunteer service

Barnart family

The Barnhart family (from left): Logan, Katrina (mother), Brayden (on mother's lap), Colton (in back) Jeremy (father and UTSA student), and Kayleigh

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(Nov. 18, 2011) -- The Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Family Programs Directorate recently honored UTSA student Jeremy Barnhart, his wife Katrina Barnhart and their children Logan Ricketts, Kayleigh Barnhart, Colton Barnhart and Brayden Barnhart as the 2011 recipients of the AUSA Volunteer Family of Year Award. The award recognizes exceptional families whose volunteerism has contributed significantly to the well being of the Army community.

As recipients of this year's AUSA award, the Barnhart family received a trip to Washington, D.C., a cash prize and a gift basket courtesy of TriWest, AUSA and other sponsors.

A UTSA senior biology major, Jeremy Barnhart is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and is a Purple Heart recipient because of severe wounds suffered in Baghdad, Iraq. Upon his return to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Barnhart immersed himself in volunteer activities. He served as the noncommissioned officer in charge and musical director of Fort Carson's Harmony in Motion.

He gave time to the local Tragedy Assistance Program (TAPS) and spent numerous hours mentoring young people about life and career choices, as they make the transition from juvenile correctional facilities. Barnhart also enjoys serving as a youth soccer coach and a volunteer cub master and den leader with the Cub Scouts. He coordinated the "Make a Difference Day," volunteered at National Night Out, and participates with Thanksgiving pumpkin and toy give-a-way programs during the holidays.

"After being wounded in Iraq, I had a long recovery process that is still ongoing," said Barnhart. "Volunteering to help Army families and the community in general really makes me feel like I can do something worthwhile, even if I can't go back to the fight. Helping others has a healing effect on me, and I would encourage anyone to find opportunities in their communities to help out. It makes me feel good to give back to all the people who have given so much to me."

Katrina Barnhart has helped the lives of soldiers and their families as well. While her husband was deployed multiple times, she was the key person in re-activating the dormant Enlisted Spouses Charitable Organization (ESCO) that became a thriving organization to assist soldiers, families and the local community. Her leadership was instrumental in promoting Parent-to-Parent (P2P) programs to provide emotional and informational support for families with special-needs children at Fort Carson, Colo., and across the country.

When the 4ID was moved from Fort Hood, Texas, to Fort Carson, Katrina began the initiative to provide coats for soldiers and families to help them make the transition from the warm climate of Central Texas to the much colder temperatures in Colorado.

"Being an Army spouse is tough and lonely at times, but getting out into the community helps you to meet new people and become a part of something better," she said. "Volunteering is a way of making your community a better place to live in, and it gives you a sense of purpose."

 

 

Did You Know?

Football standouts make Roadrunner history

For Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade, football is not just a passing fancy. Both players were part of the UTSA football program almost from the beginning. When UTSA opens the 2015 season Thursday at Arizona, it will be the first time the Roadrunners take the field without them. But Mabry and Wade will still be playing football; their uniforms will just be a different color.

Mabry, a defensive tackle from San Antonio's MacArthur High School, was an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection his final two seasons as a Roadrunner and second among the team's defensive linemen with 49 tackles last year. Wade, a defensive back from Tyler, was the most decorated player in school history. He was a semifinalist for the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award – for the nation's top defensive back – a three-time all-conference honoree and two-year team captain who set a school record of 293 tackles in his career. Both men had outstanding college careers that allowed them to make UTSA history.

Did you know? Mabry and Wade both agreed to terms as undrafted free agents with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, becoming the first UTSA players to move to the professional ranks.

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