Christine Lee, NBC 5 Irving Reporter
More than 20 wounded military members are taking part in the Warrior Open golf tournament at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving. Former President George W. Bush kicked off the two-day event this morning. It's part of the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative.
For the second year, former President George W. Bush invited wounded veterans from all over the country to be honored at an event organized just for them.
The Bush Center Warrior Open, hosted for the second year by the former Commander-in-Chief, kicked off its two-day tournament Monday morning at the Las Colinas Country Club.
The golf tournament features 22 military members from across the country who were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"I was shot eight times just south of Baghdad by an AK-47. Two in both arms, one on my foot, one in my behind, and took a couple in the plates," said retired Marine Corporal Michael Meyer from Grand Prairie.
Meyer also said it's an honor to have the President's support and to play alongside others who shared his journey.
"You don't get to meet wounded veterans a whole lot throughout the real world, so getting everybody together today and playing with them, it's really neat," he said.
The tournament is part of the George W. Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative. The policy institute is part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which is set to open in the spring and will include Bush's presidential library and museum.
The primary goals are to honor the veterans and to help them get integrated back into their communities.
"He was Commander-in-Chief for eight years, and he sent his boys and ladies into difficult situations. And he wants to honor their service and let them know that he hasn't forgotten about them, that he continues to care," said Mark Langdale, President of the George W. Bush Foundation.
Hundreds of military personnel and their families came out to show their support on Monday.
"It's absolutely important to show them, to shake their hand, and tell them that we were thinking about you, we appreciate you as a service member myself. These guys have paid an ultimate sacrifice," said SSGT Jason Lester, who is stationed at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth.
The 36-hole tournament concludes Tuesday with a winner's trophy presentation. The warrior open is the second of two events put on by the Military Service Initiative to emphasize the importance of sports in the rehabilitation process for our wounded veterans.