College Football’s Most Giving Bowl Game
Not only does the Heart of Texas Bowl host some of college football’s premier annual events, it has garnered a reputation of philanthropy unmatched in the bowl industry. In fact, the organization’s activism in the community has earned it the distinction of:
“College Football’s Most Giving Bowl Game.”
One of the goals of the Heart of Texas Bowl is to giveback to others in the community. The game serves many more than just action on the gridiron.
The C.H.A.M.P.S. program is deeply rooted in the activities of America’s Drug Free Productions. America’s Drug Free Productions is a product of the fertile, creative and compassionate mind of Dr. Jack Welch. While coaching football, Jack reasoned there had to be a way to bring a strong, non controversial anti-drug message to the impressionable young people Jack loved so much. Watching promising young lives flushed down the sewer of drug abuse was more than Jack could stand. Early efforts included drug free concerts by world famous entertainers who told their own stories of drug and alcohol abuse and the devastating effects on their lives.
After 12 years of promoting America’s Drug Free Productions, Jack went back to the drawing board and came up with a new game plan. Coach Welch created the C.H.A.M.P.S. program as a proactive program that has proven to be effective in a number of ways, not the least of which has been reducing and/or removing the peer pressure to experiment with drugs and alcohol and promoting strong anti-bullying efforts with thousands of school kids!
Concerts and distinguished speakers are important ingredients in the C.H.A.M.P.S. program. However, fellowship and unselfish activities play integral roles.
“Living Free…The American Way”-Free from the pain and penalty of drug and alcohol abuse
Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation was formed in 2003 with a specific mission: To provide immediate, as well as, long term resources and support to individuals sustaining catastrophic spinal cord injury through activities associated with high school football.
On November 2, 2001, Chris Canales, a senior defensive back playing for San Marcos Baptist Academy, sustained a spinal cord injury during the fourth quarter of his final regular season game. Chris lay motionless on the field for 19 minutes. The next three weeks, Chris fought for his life. The following months he battled through rehabilitation trying to gain movement and learning how to function as a quadriplegic. Chris’ injury and the lack of any organized support system for families prompted his father, Eddie Canales, the Canales family, and former coach Mike Kipp to begin discussions about the desperate need for an organization for families who were forced to deal with the consequences of this devastating injury.
In November of 2002, Chris and Eddie were in attendance at the Texas 3A State Championship football game in the Alamodome, in San Antonio. There they witnessed another spinal cord injury. This time it was Everman defensive back, Corey Fulbright. Chris turned to his Dad and said, “We need to go and help them. I know what he (Corey) is going to go through, and you know what the family will have to go through.” Inspired by the compassion of Chris, Eddie and Mike Kipp formed Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation. Articles of Incorporation were filed in February of 2003, and a 501(C) 3 Tax exempt status was obtained in May of the same year. Through a grant written by Eddie & his dad, Coach Robert M. Canales, funds received helped kick-off its first year.
Receiving calls from other states has shown a need for the work that is being done. Gridiron Heroes has taken step towards helping others nationwide. There have been others who suffered this similar injury in the past. Unfortunately and inevitably there will be more. Rest assured that Gridiron Heroes will be there for the next family who finds themselves in this life-changing situation.
Another charity benefiting from the Heart of Texas Bowl will be the National Mounted Warfare Foundation.
Their mission is to plan for, fundraiser for, and build the National Mounted Warrior Museum. This museum will:
- Provide unique educational experiences for Soldiers and their Families and for the Civilian community across the Nation.
- Preserve, interpret, and tell the story of Soldiers who have served in Mounted units.
- Depict the history and value of Central Texas and its unique relationship with the Fort Hood Community.
The Mounted Warrior Museum will provide a unique educational experience, preserving and interpreting the story of mounted units and Soldiers who have served at Fort Hood and worldwide, and the rich history, values, and heritage of Central Texas.