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Texans Grille hosts veteran benefit with surprise homecoming

Posted Feb 26, 2014

Eleven-year-old Max Garza got the surprise of his life at the Houston Texans Grille military benefit "Pay What You Want Day."


Max Garza was already having a pretty good day. The eleven-year-old football fan was sitting on a couch next to Texans Pro Bowler Chris Myers at the Houston Texans Grille, chatting about sports, school and his uncle, Jose Munoz.

Munoz, a member of the US Navy Construction Battalion, has been serving in Afghanistan over the past eight months and was slated to return to Houston in late March. Or so Max was told.

In reality, Munoz was anxiously waiting in the next room, prepared to surprise Max with an early homecoming. Posed as a Texans Grille server in a black apron, he planned on walking into the VIP dining room and asking his nephew what he’d like to drink.

“I’m very nervous right now,” Munoz said. “I didn’t get this nervous in combat zone. But this is great. I’m really excited and pleased that the Texans were able to make this possible for him.”

“I want to be able to see the surprise,” Myers added. “It’s something that kind of hits close to home. You  watch these things on Youtube every now and then, but to be able to see it in person and be there for it, I think it’s gonna be great.”

As Myers and Max got to talking about the Texans new season, Munoz snuck up from behind and casually said “Hey, Max.” An initial look of confusion and shock flashed across Max’s face before he jumped up and embraced his favorite uncle, the room erupting in applause.

“I’m so happy right now,” Max beamed. “I didn’t know what to expect. Meeting Chris Myers was awesome because I just love the Houston Texans. And to see my unlce, I'm just super excited.”

The surprise was the cherry on top of “Pay What You Want Day,” a veterans appreciation event where customers determined their own price for any one item on the Texans Grille menu. One hundred percent of proceeds benefited the Lone Star Veterans Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting returning veterans and their families in making a successful transition from the military to civilian world.

As avid supporters of the troops, Myers and wife Jenny ordered enough food  to feed a 6-foot-2, 286-pound offensive lineman and then some.

“My wife and I try to do as much as possible not just in the city but in general with military currently serving, wounded veterans, whatever it may be,” Myers said. “I just think what they do on a daily basis--unpublicized type of stuff that we don’t get to hear about-- I think it’s the coolest thing.

“It’s something that goes unheralded and they don’t get enough credit. Things like this can be able to pay back even the miniscule amount that it does for what they do on a daily basis.”

Before heading home to meet up with the rest of the family, Munoz and Max were given a Texans gift basket stuffed with autographed memorabilia. The Seabee plans to enjoy his time in Houston, spending it with his wife and children and of course, Max.

“I’m back here for a while,” he said. “Ultimately, I do have a commitment with the Navy so I’ll fulfill that commitment. I love it, though, and I’m going to reenlist. This is me, this is our lives. Somebody’s got to do it.”

To donate to the Lone Star Veterans Association, click here.

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