Military honored at Miracles Happen Festival - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Military honored at Miracles Happen Festival

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STEWARTVILLE, Minn. (KTTC)--The 5th annual "Miracles Happen Festival" kicked off at the Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch on Saturday.  While the festival features live music, food, sports and other family activities, the festivities began with a military celebration.

Many gathered in front of the Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch to celebrate and honor veterans and military families.  Families like the Zeigler's.  In keeping with the weekend's faith-based theme, Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Ziegler shared his story of survival with friends, family and the faithful.

Zeigler was stationed at Fort Hood in 2009 when a single-gunman opened fire killing 13 people and injuring many others.

"This entire side of my head is made of plastic and it's a miracle that I survived this gunshot wound and 3 others," said Zeigler.  "There was definitely a guardian angel, if not, the man himself, with me that day on November 5th."

Now, almost 4-years later, Ziegler says this festival and the people he's met here have helped him and his family move on from his near-death experience.

"It makes me feel great that I can walk along side my family and I can just be here today and enjoy the weather," said Zeigler.  "I feel that I'm blessed by God and everyday is a gift."

Ziegler isn't the only one seizing the day since experiencing a life-altering situation.  Crowds welcomed veteran Dana Bowman, a member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights skydiving team, as he parachuted into the festival while waving an American flag.

"We just watched David Bowman jump from the airplane and that was exciting and we're just having a really fun day," said Jennifer Schneiderman.

The day continued with the returning of the colors and closing ceremonies which included people of all ages coming together to honor the men and women who serve our country.  Proceeds from this weekend's festival will benefit "Operation Welcome Home," a retreat offered at the Ranch for veterans and their spouses.

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