The 2017 Patriot Dinner Speakers
Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez, Jr., U.S. Army (Ret.)
Commandant, Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets
Brigadier General Joe Ramirez is a native of Houston, Texas and is a graduate of Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Texas Aggie Band in the Corps of Cadets. He received his commission in the United States Army Field Artillery from Texas A&M in 1979 as a Distinguished Military Graduate.
During his 31 years of military service, General Ramirez commanded soldiers around the world and served in leadership positions in various joint and operational commands. He was the Deputy Chief of Staff for United States Central Command during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and was the Deputy Division Commander for the 2nd Infantry Division in the Republic of Korea. His most recent assignment was Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy for US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
General Ramirez holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education from Texas A&M (1979); a Masters Degree in Management from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri (1993); and a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania (2000).
His numerous military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Korean Defense Service Medal, and the Parachutists Badge.
Major Ed Pulido, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Sr. Vice President, Folds of Honor Foundation
Founder, Warriors for Freedom
Spokesperson, AROGA Health
Major Ed Pulido, U.S. Army (Ret.) is the Sr. VP of the Folds of Honor Foundation a Veteran’s charity which provides the spouses and children of the fallen and wounded educational scholarships. On the 17th of August, 2004, Major Pulido hit an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D) or roadside bomb while serving with the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team under the command of General David Petraeus. Due to the extensive injuries to his left knee, doctors had to amputate his left leg on October 1, 2004. For his heroism and valor on that August day, the President of the United States along with General David Petraeus awarded him the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Joint Service Commendation and Achievement Medals.
Major Pulido’s story of courage and sacrifice has been featured in Time Magazine, PGA Magazine, Fox News, CNN and many national and local Oklahoma City television stations and print media. Since his amputation, Major Pulido has been a staunch advocate for veterans with disabilities, specifically focusing on advocacy efforts to promote prosthetic technologies, peer visiting with fellow amputees at Brooke and Walter Reed Medical Centers, and raising awareness on the needs of veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries (T.B.I) on behalf of the DOD and VA Real Warriors National Campaign.
He has received countless awards including the prestigious Disabled American Veteran of the Year Award, HeartLine Festival of Hope Award for Suicide Prevention, the Hero’s award from the American Red Cross, the Reaching our City Award, OKC Thunder/Devon Energy Community Hero Award, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Veteran Patient Award. Additionally, he has received the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation Award for national and state level service and the Tuskahoma Brown Miller Award for outstanding leadership.
Speaker's Bureau: Folds of Honor
Ashley Thornton Schafer currently lives in Columbus, MS with her two young daughters, Avery (10) and Rachel (8). Her husband, USAF Major Rick “Tracer” Schafer, was tragically killed on August 31st, 2014 in the Line of Duty, while on a family vacation in their private airplane.
Ashley is a Certified Group Fitness Instructor and has been teaching classes for five years. She has specialized certifications in yoga, pilates, group resistance training, circuit training, prenatal and postnatal fitness. She currently teaches several classes at Mississippi University for Women Campus Recreation and Columbus Air Force Base Fitness Center. She has always been very involved in volunteering at the local Air Force base, her daughter’s school, and their church. She has been honored to be a part of the Folds of Honor Speaker’s Bureau, sharing her story and honoring her hero, since November of 2015.
Former Member, United States Army
Former Linebacker, Texas A&M University
Mark Dodge, a former member of the U.S. Army’s honor guard, was at the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west wall of the facility. After his military service, Dodge eventually became a starting linebacker at Texas A&M and quickly became a fan favorite. He ended his two-year college career as a senior in 2007, finishing with 168 total tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions; earning All-Big 12 honors.
Mr. Dodge will serve as this year’s host of the Patriot Dinner and will play in in the Golf Classic.