Shilo Harris — an Army staff sergeant that survived an IED explosion while on patrol in Iraq during the Global War on Terror — is the guest speaker for this Friday’s sold-out third annual “Evening of Honor” at the Place of Refuge church.
Every penny raised will help underwrite the “Not Forgotten” Memorial Day Weekend event taking place May 21-25 at Woodward Park featuring the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall. Typically upwards of 20,000 plus people attend the Memorial Weekend event. This year, however, numbers are expected to be significantly higher due to the moving wall. Organizers are also arranging for students from Manteca and nearby communities to visit the moving wall during that week where Vietnam War veterans will share their stories with them.
Harris’ Humvee hit an IED while on patrol in Iraq in February of 2007. In that blast he lost his ears, part of his nose, some fingers and over a third of the skin on his body. He also lost three of his best friends.
What followed was an agonizing road to recovery, which began with nearly two months in a medically induced coma. During that time he experienced a version of hell so terrifying, the memories still haunt him today. Harris shares his inspiring story in his memoir, “Steel Will: My Journey Through Hell to Become the Man I was Meant to Be.”
After spending nearly three years in the Brooke Army Medical Center burn unit, the wounded warrior retired from the military and today he travels as a motivational speaker.
Businesses and individuals seeking to support the Memorial Day Weekend event purchased tables. They will enjoy a dinner catered by Tim Lund, managing partner of Texas Roadhouse of Union City. Many local businesses donated items to be auctioned off including Shotgun Johnny’s, Manteca Trailer & RV, Texas Roadhouse of Union City, Firefall Jewelers, Steve’s Mobile Sunscreens, and Manteca Ford & Exotic Highline.