San Antonio Nonprofit Celebrates Veterans and the Outdoors at Annual Gala

San Antonio Nonprofit Celebrates Veterans and the Outdoors at Annual Gala


Media will be allowed free access during the date of the event.

WHAT: Annual Gala awarding Purple Heart Veteran Justin Patterson and Partner of the Year Steve Ryan.

WHEN: Saturday, August 25, doors open at 5 p.m.

WHERE: La Villita Assembly Hall, 401 Villita Street, San Antonio, TX 78205

SAN ANTONIO – July 26 – Trinity Oaks, a local nonprofit, has announced its two annual award recipients, chosen for their impact in serving the community and working toward shared goals to use the outdoors to help veterans, youth, and others in need. Both award recipients will be recognized at the nonprofit’s 6th Annual “Under the Oaks” Gala.

Trinity Oaks’ mission is to use the outdoors as a platform to give back and make a difference in the lives of others. The annual gala raises necessary funding for Trinity Oaks’ operations and programs, in service to thousands in need in the greater San Antonio area. Programs include free youth outdoor education and events, all-expense paid veteran “Hero Celebration” events, Dream Trips for terminally-ill people, and processing of game meat into hundreds of thousands of meals for hungry children and families across Texas. Trinity Oaks owns and manages the Thumbtack Ranch property in Batesville, Texas, Paige’s Place in Port Mansfield, Texas, and the Guadalupe River Camp in Seguin, Texas.

“With the Lt. Paul Silber Award, Trinity Oaks’ hope is to give recognition to Purple Heart veterans who continue to serve their community after their return from combat. The goal is to bring inspiration to our veterans that there is meaning and success after returning from combat,” explains Executive Director Britt Longoria.

The Lt. Paul Silber Award is named after a dedicated soldier who overcame the limitations resulting from combat wounds to have a meaningful, rewarding life after war. This year’s recipient is Justin Patterson.

Staff Sargent Patterson, “SGT Pat”, enlisted in the Army in 2000. He was on active duty for most of his career until medically retired in 2014. His many medals and awards include 3 Purple Hearts, 2 Joint Service and 2 Army Commendation Medals with Valor, a Combat Action Badge, and a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

For years, Justin has volunteered for Trinity Oaks at Carry the Load events for veterans and their families. In 2017, he went even further above the call of duty to organize the donation and delivery of a semi-truck load of mattresses for the Trinity Oaks Hurricane Harvey relief efforts for Texas community members in Houston. He regularly dedicates time and funding to support children and homeless in need, in his community in Colorado and in Texas.

Also, at the Gala, Trinity Oaks honors its “Partner of the Year”, a tribute to an avid huntsman or outdoorsman that has had the most impact on our programs. This year the recipient is Steve Ryan, an expert agricultural investor and owner of Rebecca Creek Distillery, the third largest distillery in Texas. Steve has supported Trinity Oaks with sponsorship of donations from Rebecca Creek for fundraisers for the last 6 years. His family also donates their personal villa in Belize for Trinity Oaks programs and co-hosts veteran Hero Celebration hunting safaris in Namibia. “Steve has played an instrumental role in helping us advance our programs that align with his work and his personal passion for sharing the outdoors. We’re proud to call him our partner and friend,” said Tom Snyder, founder and president of Trinity Oaks.

Tickets and tables for the Gala are on sale via Trinity Oaks’ website,, or by emailing

More about the Lt. Paul Silber Award

Selection Criteria:

  1. Combat Veteran – Recipients must have served in a live combat zone. They illustrate their connection to veterans returning home and understand the hardships and sacrifices of active duty deployment as well as the difficulty of a return back to civilian life.
  2. Community volunteer – The award winner demonstrates consistent volunteerism and service within their community. Participation in a leadership role within a volunteer situation is given more weight.
  3. Nature enthusiast and conservationist – The winner appreciates nature and has a healthy respect for the bounties of our world. Support of a conservation or other natural resource focused organization is highly sought after.
  4. Trinity Oaks Mission – The recipient of the Lt. Paul Silber Award does not have to be affiliated with Trinity Oaks, but they must demonstrate their personal beliefs are aligned with those of the organization including a respect for nature, participation in our outdoor heritage, as well as an appreciation for God and our great country.

Past recipients include: MSgt Blaine Scott (2017), Edgar Stiteler (2016), Gary Renick (2015), and Greg Stubbe (2014).

Video link to criteria:

Video Link to last year’s award:

More about Justin Patterson

Staff Sargent Patterson, “SGT Pat”, enlisted in 2000, was active duty between 2002-2009 in Iraq and was medically retired in 2014. For most of his service, he was involved with OEF/OIF on Small Kill Teams (SKTs). He survived 5 critical injuries between 2004 and 2007, taking shrapnel in the eye, a bullet in the foot, a suicide bomber attack, and two IEDs. In September 2007, his unit hit a large IED, overturned and caught fire. Justin was ejected from the vehicle while the remaining crew members were burned alive. He was knocked unconscious and woke up in a recovery unit in Langstuhl.

He spent the next few years in Walter Reed, Virginia Neurocare and BAMC undergoing physical, speech and cognitive therapy for his Traumatic Brain Injury and other combat injuries. He was medically retired 100%, and has continued his healthcare at the VA since. Justin resides in Colorado with his wife and caregiver Elisa and their son Maximus. He enjoys the outdoors, metal detecting, and treasure hunting.

His many medals and awards include:

  • 3 Purple Hearts
  • 2 Army Commendation Medal with Valor
  • 2 Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor
  • 3 Army Achievement Medal
  • 2 Army Good Conduct Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star
  • 3 Overseas Service Ribbon
  • Combat Action Badge

Community Service:

  • Justin and his family personally invited a disabled veteran from Justin’s unit to live with them while he established VA medical care and a personal care path and could relocate to be with family in New Jersey.
  • Volunteer work with LA Puente Home in Alamosa, where he raised funding and special surprises (including haircuts, oil changes, and grocery cards) as a Mother’s Day gift for a single mother of a daughter with a rare genetic disorder.
  • Camp volunteer with the Roever Foundation for at risk teens from the Houston area.
  • Works with WWP as a volunteer to raise awareness and support for veteran suicide prevention.
  • Supported fundraising efforts by the Green Beret in Maine for Gold Star Families.
  • A close friend of country music singer, Brantley Gilbert, supports different veterans, first responders, and disabled people in need with special dream packages to attend concerts and meet the star in person.
  • Volunteered with Higher Ground to help raise over $800,000 during a single banquet as their veteran guest speaker with Leon Panetta.
  • Started a program with the Colorado Speed Company and Trinity Oaks doing “engine therapy” for veterans where he and others volunteer to work on custom cars.
  • Takes care of his Gold Star Families that he personally lost and others that he meets. He provides school supplies, clothes, and personal mentorship.
  • Works with Trinity Oaks and the Tiegen Foundation to get mattresses and beds donated from America Home Furnishing for the Hurricane Harvey victims.

More about the Partner of the Year Award

Selection Criteria:

  1. Aligned with the Trinity Oaks Mission – the recipient of the Person of the Year Award strongly affirms Trinity Oaks’ mission to use the outdoors as a way to give back and make a difference to others.
  2. Demonstrates Time, Talent, and Treasure – The award winner has demonstrated consistent volunteerism and service.
  3. Is a Hunter Conservationist – The winner has an appreciation of nature and a healthy respect for the bounties of our world.

Past recipients include Steve Ryan (2018), Joe and Ann Kercheville (2017), Scott Gurney (2016), Lee and Edith Kidd (2015), David Gaither (2014), and Brian McClure (2013).

More about Trinity Oaks

Trinity Oaks is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded on the premise that active participation in the outdoors is a powerful, healing, and fundamentally life-changing experience. Our mission is to use hunting, fishing and outdoor activities to give back and make a difference in the lives of others. For decades, we have known of the philosophical shift that outdoor activities cause within those who participate in them and how that profoundly impacts the wellness of our society.

Our main goal is to connect the solace of wild places and the many recreational opportunities therein to offer respite, comradery, and an uplift of spirit to those that most need it but cannot afford it. On an annual basis, we offer at least 50 free events for people who can benefit from once-in-a-lifetime hunting or fishing experiences.

At least 1,500 youth in difficult circumstances annually learn how to properly handle firearms and shoot firearms and archery equipment. Not only do those programs open them to outdoor recreation that they wouldn’t experience otherwise, but they also minimalize their risk of turning to drug use or other negative behaviors, improve their leadership and academic capacity, and teach them the responsibility of stewardship for our environment.

We honor and serve over 500 Purple Heart and live combat veterans with Hero Celebrations to hunt and/or angle, as well as provide active venues in the great outdoors for them to spend time with peers who understand the rigors of war and family.

We facilitate Dream Trips for terminally ill in our community to fulfill their hunting or fishing wish and create a lasting memory with their family.

StarKids forges lifelong mentorship relationships for 20+ children of fallen first responders annually, through learning hunting and shooting skills with a peer volunteer from their parent’s police force or squadron.

We honor the caretakers of our wounded warriors with an annual Holiday UnSung Heroes Retreat at our Guadalupe River Camp.

Through our Meat Mission, we are able to process over 100,000 pounds of game meat into 540,000 meals annually for soup kitchens, homeless shelters, group homes, and orphanages in Texas and northern Mexico.

Programs are operated from a base in San Antonio, at sites across Texas, nationally, and internationally in partnership with dozens of volunteers, nonprofits, and other agencies.

We operate the Guadalupe River Camp in Seguin, Texas, and Paige’s Place in Port Mansfield, Texas.
In 2017, we launched our first two “branch” offices in Austin and Victoria.
Thumbtack Ranch in Batesville, Texas was purchased in 2017 and a 3-year plan is underway renovate the site as our operational headquarters for all shooting, hunting, fishing, and recreation programs.

More about the 6th Annual Under the Oaks Gala

Event Contact: Brittany Longoria, Executive Director, Trinity Oaks,, (210) 447 0351.

Event Date: August 25, 2018.

Event Location: La Villita Assembly Hall, 401 Villita Street, San Antonio, TX 78205.

Expected Attendance: 500

Demographics of Attendees: (Estimated)

– AGE: Youth (0-20) 15%; Adults (21-55) 60%; Seniors (55+) 25%.

– RACE: Caucasian 50%; Hispanic 40%; Black 6%; Other 4% (based on general San Antonio demographics).

– OTHER: Veterans (30%); First Responders (10%); Disabled (10%).

Activities: Guest Speaker, Person of the Year Award (giving back and making a difference through the outdoors), Lt. Paul Silber Award (Purple Heart veteran), Silent Auction, Live Auction, Raffles, Dinner and Cocktails.

Event Goals:

– To raise core funding for Trinity Oaks annual programs and operational expenses for: the free to access and outdoors engagement; the Guadalupe River Camp in Seguin, TX; Paige’s Place in Port Mansfield, TX; and a center to process harvested game meat for hundreds of thousands of meal donations for shelters and orphanages across Texas and in Mexico. Trinity Oaks operates under a million-dollar budget annually, with $250,000 going toward salaries (program staff and executive director) and operating support for engagement centers. Trinity Oaks has a Gold Seal on GuideStar for financial transparency.

– To raise awareness for outdoors programming needs for veterans, servicemen, and underserved youth across our region by honoring local champions for veterans and youth engagement.

Facebook page:


YouTube: (Official 2017 Presentation Video):

2017 Fundraising: $450,000 from ticket sales (20%), auctions (25%), raffles (10%), sponsors (25%) and donations (20%).

Publicity/Promotional Opportunities for Sponsors:

– Logo posted on website, in fall Newsletter, and in official event video (shown at event and posted on Trinity Oaks’ YouTube channel, used as primary media engagement for a year).

– Choice of either silent auction or live auction sale, with both formally announced by MC.

– Option for logo at table display (at entrance to event).

– Official mention in press releases, sent to local, statewide, and national outlets. In past years, events have been covered in an average of five local outlets (10-12 million people from Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, Austin, and surrounding areas in South and Central Texas).