Victoria Advocate

After a year of planning and more than $350,000 later, about 700 soldiers and their families will arrive in the Crossroads on Friday for Warrior's Weekend 2013.

"It has gotten to be something we never dreamed it would become. We had about 55 soldiers the first year and their families. It was two little buses from Brooke Army Medical Center, and it grew in spite of ourselves," Ron Kocian, president and founder of Warrior's Weekend told the Victoria Advocate about the all-expenses paid fishing trip for wounded soldiers and Marines who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The week officially begins with the Warrior's Weekend Field of Honor dedication ceremony at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Kocian said between 2,200 and 2,500 flags were purchased for $40 a piece. Each represents a veteran and helps fund the weekend.

Kocian said the event has grown so rapidly without advertising because the group does not turn away wounded soldiers who ask to attend. Now, Kocian said they have lined up more than 20 buses to bring military men and women in from a Houston airport and from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. They also have multiple groups driving to the Crossroads from as far away as Colorado.

He said they will have more than 200 volunteers working the weekendlong event that runs from Friday to Sunday and includes a dedication ceremony, fishing tournament and fish fry.