The Center for Life Resources honored the Brownwood Veterans of Foreign Wars Tuesday morning with a Wall of Honor induction ceremony in the center’s conference room.
    The VFW has been supporting the center’s autism support group for over five years now, donating 32 iPads to autistic children in area school districts to help with their condition.
    Four VFW members and several dozen Center for Life Resources employees were on hand for the ceremony which included refreshments, remarks by center CEO Dion White and the unveiling of the updated Wall of Honor plaque, which hangs in the center and now includes an inscription for the VFW.
    “When they returned to the civilian way of life, their commitment to our nation did not stop,” White said of the veterans during his remarks. “They made a commitment to help those individuals in need. Members of our autism group have been extremely blessed by VFW Post 3278 these past few years.”
    White said the iPads were an invaluable resource for autistic children. “These iPads allow for increased communication, interaction and growth for the individuals associated with the autism support group,” he said. White compared the veterans to the superheroes of the big screen.
    “There are many movies that showcase superheroes such as Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman,” he said. “Fortunately, today we don’t have to go to the movies. We can see true heroes because they’re with us today, representing the VFW.”
    Following White’s remarks and the plaque presentation, Brownwood VFW Post Commander James Masters said the VFW had “more shock and awe” for the center. He returned minutes later with a brand-new entertainment system including a 60-inch Samsung smart TV, DVD players, keyboards, speakers and more.
    White’s surprise and excitement were evident.
    Masters said his members worked behind the scenes to find out what the center needed, and heard through the autism program that “if [they] had a wish list, it would be X, Y and Z.”
    “Well, X, Y and Z is now here,” he said.
    Masters said the group’s involvement with the autism support group was born out of the same desire to fill a need. “Originally, as we understood, the [Brownwood] ISD issued iPads to the students, but the autistic children had to return the iPads” after school, he said. “That kind of incensed us. We’re not taking that, so that’s when we launched into it and started making sure that, at the end of the year, they left with their iPad, too.”
    Center for Life Resources Public Relations Coordinator Kendyl Simons said the iPads had apps and resources specifically for autistic children. “Some people with autism are nonverbal or don’t communicate well,” Simons said. “It allows you to type or draw, and … there’s also apps created for people with autism to help them learn words.”
    Simons said the center’s autism support group met once a month and usually included around 20 kids.
    In addition to its work with the autism group, the Heart of Texas VFW Post 3278 helps with the Brown County Youth Fair, the Cherry Pie Auction, the JROTC, Toys for Kids and the Walker Cancer Center. It works in concert with the VFW Auxiliary to host regular fundraisers and give back to the community.
    “Every penny that the VFW raises through its fish fry,” Masters said, citing one of the group’s most popular fundraisers, “stays in this community.”