Buf­falo Sol­diers Pro­gram cel­e­brates 25th An­niver­sary with founders event

Big Spring Herald Weekend - - BUSINESS AND AGRICULTUR­E - con­tentser­vices@htlive.com

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 7 -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife is­sued the fol­low­ing news re­lease:

In honor of Black History Month, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Depart­ment’s Buf­falo Sol­diers pro­gram cel­e­brated its 25th an­niver­sary with a founder’s event and ex­hibit un­veil­ing to­day at the TPWD head­quar­ters build­ing in Austin.

Speak­ers at the event in­cluded Sen­a­tor Royce West, Buf­falo Sol­diers pro­gram founders Kenneth Pol­lard and Tad Gose, and TPWD Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Carter Smith. Texas Parks and Wildlife Com­mis­sioner Oliver Bell and for­mer TPW Com­mis­sioner Bill Jones were also in at­ten­dance.

“The Buf­falo Sol­diers pro­gram has been a part of TPWD and Texas State Parks for 25 years and cel­e­brat­ing this mon­u­men­tal an­niver­sary is a great way to kick off Black History Month,” said Rod­ney Franklin, Di­rec­tor of Texas State Parks. “Texas her­itage in­cludes all of us. Shar­ing the story of African Amer­i­can he­roes and her­itage through a rich mil­i­tary history is a source of pride for all Texans, and TPWD is hon­ored to cel­e­brate the legacy of the Buf­falo Sol­diers dur­ing to­day’s event.”

The new plaque and ex­hibit un­veiled to­day hon­ors the founders of the Buf­falo Sol­diers pro­gram with a dis­play of items used dur­ing some of the first out­reach events at schools and com­mu­ni­ties. The ex­hibit will be on dis­play and open to the pub­lic at the TPWD head­quar­ters build­ing in Austin for a year be­fore mov­ing to the Buf­falo Sol­dier Mu­seum in Hous­ton.

“The un­veil­ing of the Founders Memo­rial plaque is a sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment for the Buf­falo Sol­diers pro­gram,” said Franklin. “It pays trib­ute to the hard-work­ing staff and vol­un­teers that ded­i­cated count­less hours, weeks and years bring­ing part of Texas History and African Amer­i­can history to life. It will for­ever serve as an homage to the legacy of the Buf­falo Sol­diers pro­gram and its founders.”

The Buf­falo Sol­diers were the first free unit of pro­fes­sional African Amer­i­can sol­diers in the U.S. mil­i­tary who served on the western fron­tier from 1866 to 1948 build­ing roads, tele­graphs and forts. To­day, the TPWD Buf­falo Sol­diers pro­gram ed­u­cates school stu­dents and park vis­i­tors about the orig­i­nal sol­diers and en­cour­ages out­door skills and re­cre­ation.

With al­most 15 years with TPWD, Pol­lard has es­tab­lished part­ner­ships with nu­mer­ous history or­ga­ni­za­tions and Buf­falo Sol­dier groups con­tin­u­ing their sup­port of the pro­gram to­day. He’s also spear­headed ma­jor vic­to­ries for the pro­gram, such as work­ing with state leg­is­la­tors to es­tab­lish July as the of­fi­cial Buf­falo Sol­dier’s Month in Texas.

Gose be­gan his al­most 35-year ca­reer with TPWD at Lake Ar­row­head State Park in 1978. Con­sid­ered one of the founders of the Buf­falo Sol­dier pro­gram, his largest event at the park drew more than 4,000 vis­i­tors. One of his most chal­leng­ing as­sign­ments dur­ing his ten­ure was as a staff mem­ber on the Huff Wagon train jour­ney. Along with more than 100 Texas youth, Gose and oth­ers rode hun­dreds of miles from El Paso to Hous­ton on horse drawn wag­ons to bring the sto­ries of the early fron­tier to life.

For any query with respect to this ar­ti­cle or any other con­tent re­quire­ment, please con­tact Ed­i­tor at

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