By Lindsay Starr Platt, The Belton Journal
Pit Stop Bar & Grill in Nolanville went from its usual biker and locals hang-out to a one-night comedy club last Saturday night. Comedians from the Humor for Heroes partnered with Wish for Our Heroes and brought laughter and inspiration to packed venue to see the headline comic Bobby Henline. This is the second year Pit Stop Bar & Grill hosted the event with proceeds going to Wish for Our Heroes.
“We are excited tohave Humor for Heroes here for the second year,” commented Twilla Reidinger, bar manager, Pit Stop Bar & Grill. “We will do anything to help our veterans. Bobby is just a great funny guy.”
Jay LaFarr, Damon Edwards were the comics that opened for headliner, Bobby Henline known as the “Well-Done Comedian.”
Bobby Henline is a former American soldier and hero, who stirs laughter and inspiration as a stand-up comedian and motivational speaker. While on tour in Iraq in 2007, Henline’s Humvee vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb just north of Bagdad. Henline was riding with five other soldiers, and he was the only survivor of the vehicle. He spent more than six months in the hospital fighting for his life with more than 38 percent of his body having been burned. More than forty surgeries later and the amputation of his left hand, Henline believes God kept him alive for a reason. Now, Henline uses those experiences and struggles to inspire others and give the gift of laughter.
“I love coming here. I started my career here at Fort Hood in 1989. The humor is for everybody it is the story of my life. I was on my deathbed and came back. I am here to inspire others to live life to the fullest,” said Henline. “If I was one of the ones that hadn’t made it, what would I want for the guys that lived? I tell self-deprecating jokes on what it is like to be burnt. You have to make light of it, you cannot dwell on it.”
“One of my jokes is, ‘When I woke up at the hospital in San Antonio, Texas, two weeks after the explosion, my doctor asked if I was ready to see my wife. “Doc, don’t you think I have suffered enough?’” said Henline.
Humor for Heroes hosts comedy shows for the purpose of honoring current and former military members and their guests with a stress free night of comedy while showing our appreciation for the sacrifices they and their families have made for our great nation. Humor for Heroes comedy shows also provide networking opportunities and resource information. Profits made from ticket sales, merchandise sales and corporate sponsorships are then donated to military charities to further serve and honor military members and veterans.
Wish for Our Heroes is a charity dedicated to assisting the men and women of the United States active-duty military. They want to provide resources to the “average” military member, in order to make their deployments a little easier, and to improve the quality of their family lives while home or during deployment. Wish for Our Heroes started with the goal of providing one wish for every deserving military member. There are no requirements – military members simply have to be on active-duty at the time the wish is submitted.
Another special guest at Saturday’s event was 1st Lieutenant John Arroyo, who is accepting the “soldier’s medal” on Monday, April 6th. The soldier’s medal is awarded for acts of heroism and is considered the highest honor a soldier can receive in a non-combat situation. Arroyo was wounded in the shooting on Fort Hood on April 2, 2014.
“I took a bullet to the throat. If you take a bullet, you are given a second chance. I walked out of my house on April 2 last year, almost to never walk back in,” said Arroyo. “I am here tonight to show awareness for our military veterans, and great organizations that will help them and our military members.”
Henline had some great jokes and one-liners, even though they touched an emotional level, they also proved we are all just human.
“If my comedy career takes off, I will be the only comedian ever to show up to his roast pre-cooked,” joked Henline. “It was during my fourth tour and an IED that I discovered that my lucky number is three.”
“I am excited we have a really good turnout. John Arroyo is my special guest and he will receive the “soldier’s medal” on Monday. Last year we had Gold Star and Blue Star families here.” commented Kimmy Chapman, board member, Wish for Our Heroes.
James Kincaid, a veteran, and owner of Pit Stop Bar & Grill enjoyed hosting this event for the second year. Over three hundred people showed up for the comedy show to enjoy a good show and to support the charities.
“Our number one goal is to help this community relieve a little stress especially with our military families and their deployments. And to raise some money for a good cause,” said Kincaid. “Bobby being a wounded warrior, comedy has saved his life and it may just save someone else.”
Another featured guest of the evening was local musician Jenna McDaniel. McDaniel opened the show with her rendition of the national anthem.
“This is great! I do a lot for Wish for Our Heroes, anytime they ask me, I am honored to be a part of their events,” said McDaniel. “Bobby is so nice. Last year I participated in this event. I was on my way to prom, I got onstage and sang “The Star Spangled Banner” in my prom dress.”
Henline’s crowd favorite joke is; “I love to go to a fireworks stand, and say ‘Oh my gosh! Bottle rockets, roman candles, ahhh… just give me everything you gave me last year, it was great!’ Thank you.”