Sulphur Springs Gymnastics is going red, white and blue the weekend of Feb. 28-March 1, as they host the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation America the Beautiful Invitational.
The state qualifying competition will be a tribute to a fallen soldier, Army Sgt. 1st Class Allen Mosteiro, the brother of local gymnastics coach Stephanie Chaimson.
"It's a nice way to honor not just my brother, but everybody in the military," said Chaimson, whose brother was killed in Iraq Feb. 14, 2007, while serving his third tour of duty.
More than 250 gymnasts from across the state of Texas will compete at the weekend event vying for positions at the state competition to be held in April and May in Garland.
The Sulphur Springs team, last year's champions, will be competing for positions at the state meet to defend their title.
According to Chaimson, who moved to the area six months ago, she and her husband, Nick, hosted the event last year while coaching teams in Arlington and brought the event with them after their move.
Chaimson said her brother's untimely death was still fresh on her mind when they hosted last year’s event.
"We did the National Anthem and everything like we always do at these events, but you know, it seems like people really don't even listen anymore,” she said.
Afterwards, words were spoken regarding the death of her brother, and a true sense of respect for what men and women of service do for the country was felt throughout the building.
"Being a soldier was the only goal he ever had," she said. "He was admired and highly regarded by even his superiors. They called him 'The calm in the storm.'"
The America the Beautiful Invitational will be held not only in honor of Sgt. Mosteiro, but all current and former members of the armed forces.
"This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for protecting us and helping to provide for the many freedoms we live with every day," Chaimson emphasized. "People forget. And we want our military to know we are proud and grateful for what they do, that it means something to people still."
All active duty military, veterans, and their families will be given free admission to the competition as guests of Sulphur Springs Gymnastics,1530 West Industrial Drive. Sessions start at 9 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday.
For more information call 903-438-0748.
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