COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Aggie football kicks off this Saturday.... both with celebration and remembrance.
The 100th Season of the 12th Man and the remembrance of the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, will both be recognized and honored. The home opener will be special and all back in a full Kyle Field.
A special shopping spree kicked off honoring military ahead of the big game.
Ahead of Academy Sports + Outdoors sponsoring this weekend's 'Standing For America' Aggie football game, the recreation retailer was able to give back to an Aggie student and veteran's family, but in turn that family donated their shopping spree to Gold Star families.
Before the store welcomed regular customers Wednesday morning, the doors were opened just for him.
"All this pressure... I feel like I gotta pick the right thing," Jake Worrell, a Junior at A&M and the recipient of the shopping spree said while shopping Wednesday.
Academy Sports + Outdoors connected with the Veteran Resource and Support Center at Texas A&M.
"....and ultimately selected us to receive this shopping spree here at Academy.. We are very fortunate and very blessed." said Chris Thompson, an Aggie Veteran. "There's not much we need,"
Thompson said instead, he wanted to be able to help someone else.
"We connected with the Special Operations Warrior Foundation they primarily work with Gold Star families... families that have lost their husband or father and that husband or father has served in the special operations community," Thompson added.
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation's mission is to empower the families of fallen and severely wounded soldiers across the country.
When Chris Thompson heard of his family's recognition and the $5,000 thousand dollar shopping spree, the first thought that came to mind was that he couldn't accept.
"I can't accept it. We (he and his wife) ultimately talked about it and said we would only accept it if there is a way that we could find folks that were in need and we could give that to them," Thompson added.
And they were able to do so.
"...He (Chris) was so grateful to be able to donate some of his spendings today to me and my family. So I got to be able to go around and spend some money for myself and for my little brother on whatever we needed... whatever we wanted," Worrell said.
"There is a lot of focus that is put on the service member and that is super important, folks that are serving overseas and serving stateside. It's important to remember those folks. Even when we have folks killed in action, we have Memorial Day that honors those service members that we have lost. Sometimes people forget.. those people had families... whether it's parents, a husband, a wife or children. A lot of time that gets forgotten about. We wanted to make sure they are not forgotten are we are still thinking of them and this is our way to be able to help them," Thompson added.
This newfound friendship leaving this Aggie Junior and Cadet, humbled and so very grateful.
"It means everything.. knowing that people don't forget... people still care. It's truly a blessing to be in people's minds still and to have people like Chris come out," Worrell shared.
And for Chris' wife, Rebecca, the opportunity to pay it forward was overwhelming.
"Just because I was able to have my husband come back. I couldn't imagine losing my husband or Colton losing his dad. We were really blessed for him to come back. To be able to help these families ...It's beyond words," Rebecca Thompson said.
The Aggie network is something that never stops giving.
"...and today is a perfect example of that," Worrell added.
Two families of fallen soldiers were selected to split the $5,000. One was Jake who shopped with the Thompson's Wednesday morning and the other is based in Colorado and will be able to use their gift card online.
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