We are confirmed for the BIG Tailgate and starting the planning for the 11th Annual Tailgate with a Hero at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Campus here in Houston on Saturday October 5th.  Here is some information on where we are so far: 

Click HERE for 2019 Flyer

Click HERE for 2019 Campus Map - Cooking teams park in lot A, volunteers and guests park in staff lots C and B.

Unmet needs;

We still have the following unmet needs:

1. Need a good PA system that can be heard throughout the parking lot.
2. It would be great if we could get a large TV set up outside – college football is back!
3. We need an emcee – it looks like the local TV news anchor I had contacted won’t be able to be there so any ideas here are welcome. Maybe a DJ who can also provide the PA system?
4. Need someone to handle dessert service for outside service only – we won’t send dessert into the hospital as many of the patients are diabetic.
5. Need someone to be our gopher in case we run out of or forget something. I know there are grocery stores nearby.

Additional Info:

  1. The plan is the same as what we have done the last several years.  We will be cooking and working in the parking lot on the south side of the main hospital building on the DeBakey campus (I will provide more specific information on where to park and find us as the date approaches).  We will start plating and transporting the lunch meals into the hospital first (starting at 10:30) and complete that before any outside food service starts.  We will probably need to send about 500 meals into the hospital for patients and staff, and serve roughly another 500 meals outside.  When the transport of meals into the hospital is done, we will have the presentation of colors and a few brief announcements – we promise no speeches.  Then we will start outside food service for veterans and their families.  VA staff and volunteers eat last if there is still food left over.
  2. We have firm commitments from three cooking teams so far and we may gain another cooking group or two.  Menus are still being worked out, but I think we will be serving brisket and sausage, pork loin or pork chops, and maybe chicken fajitas or chicken thighs – all these meals with sides.  More information to follow on this as we see how many cooking teams we have and what they want to cook.
  3. The Gathering of Eagles will provide the color guard.  These gentlemen include veterans of all wars going back to and including WWII so we are always excited to have them join us.

We are starting out with $2,550 in the bank.  We just ordered 12 dozen caps (we didn’t bring any back from Temple) at about $7 each so that will cost roughly $1,000, which will leave us with about $1,550 for this tailgate as our finances sit right now.  Depending on how much of the food and drink is donated and what meals we serve, we usually spend around $3.00 per meal including everything except caps.  We are planning on serving at least 1,000 (free) meals which will cost maybe $3,000.  So it would be great if we could raise some additional money.  Tailgate with a Hero is now a separate 501(c)3 charitable corporation so if you would like to make a tax deductible donation please send it to:

Tailgate with a Hero, Inc

16723 Village View Trail

Sugar Land, TX   77498

Or you can get it to me or Dan Wingerson.  Our pledge to you remains that 100% of our donations are spent directly on our events.  We have no cost of fundraising, no overhead, no paid staff, and we don’t buy anything other than food, related supplies (charcoal, plates, serving pans, etc.), and caps.  If you are able to make a donation, large or small, we are very grateful and we pledge to use it directly on this event, or another one like it.  We would be very appreciative of any food or drink donations, or contacts at some of the local grocery store who might help us.

I am having some issues with my tailgate email group so if you are getting this email twice or want to be removed from future TGWAH emails please let me know.

We are just starting to figure this out so much more to follow.

Ralph Wissel