What began in 2009 in Pahrump as a grassroots effort by “Bikers Giving Back” to help injured U.S. military men and women, “One Hero at a Time,”  came to Mesquite last year to honor the men and women of the United States military.

This year’s event is to be held on Saturday, April 12, at the CasaBlanca Event Center, 950 W. Mesquite Blvd..  The hero being honored this year is Staff Sgt. Travis Wood of Cedar City, Utah.

Wood was on a recovery mission in southern Afghanistan on Jan. 15, 2007, when three anti-tank mines changed his and his family’s lives forever. Wood not only lost his lower right leg, but he sustained several spinal cord and pelvic injuries as well as severe internal organ damage, including a partially paralyzed right lung.

He has endured more than 84 surgeries to try and repair these injuries.  Spending over two and a half years in recovery at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., he was finally released to go home to Cedar City to start his “normal civilian life” with his family. But given the extent of his injuries, that life has been anything but “normal.”

In spite of all they have been through, Wood, his wife Stephanie and their three children, Maddy, Charlotte and Ryan, feel inordinately blessed because he is alive today and they are able to be together, as a family, doing things like fishing and camping.

“This inspiring and heroic soldier is currently attending college at Southern Utah University in the hope that he can become a middle and high school teacher and give even more to a community for which he has already sacrificed so much,” said Tammy Rambo, director of sales for Mesquite Gaming.

Sponsored by Mesquite Gaming — the CasaBlanca Resort & Casino and the Virgin River Hotel & Casino — and by VeteransTalk.com, The Forgotten Promise, the second annual Mesquite One Hero At A Time Event begins with a two-hour out-and-back ride by the many motorcycle riders who attend the event.  That departs from the parking lot of the CasaBlanca Event Center at 9:30 a.m. Immediately following the ride, the doors of the CasaBlanca Event Center are to open at 11 a.m.  The opening ceremonies will begin at noon, and the live entertainment and events will run until 8 p.m.  An entry donation of $20 will be the gateway to a full day of live music, food, fun and raffles. All of the entry and raffle proceeds go directly to Wood and his family, who will be on hand all day to meet and greet everyone who comes out to support them.

Disc jockey Johnny Utah will be the master of ceremonies for the event. Live bands will be performing all day; featuring headliner Phoenix.  Also on the line up will be special guests Chris Bell Band, Aura Surreal, Sala, House of Sons, Beans & Wheels, Sucker Punch and Bottled Monkey.

All of the bands have all donated their time to the event.  Food and drinks will also be available for purchase in the event center throughout the day.