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Off Duty Salt River Firefighters Give Back By Helping Community Veteran

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Robert Aguilar receives a plaque from a group of Salt River firefighters.

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member and Vietnam War veteran Robert Aguilar received a pleasant surprise on November 9.

A group of Salt River firefighters spent their morning cleaning Aguilar’s yard in Lehi in appreciation for Aguilar’s military service. Aguilar served four years in the Navy, from 1962 to 1966. His service included working on the USS Hanson in the South China Sea during Vietnam.

“What can I say? This is unbelievable,” Aguilar said. “I never expected this.”

The cleanup is part of new SRFD and SRPMIC initiative to show “respect and appreciation” to Community veterans.

(l-r) Greg Mason, Adam Weatherbee, Brian Smith, Robert Aguilar, Rickey Cline and Sean Garrity pose for a photo outside Aguilar's Lehi home. The off-duty firefighters cleaned Aguilar's yard as a thank you for his military service.
The off-duty firefighters were from Salt River Fire Station 292, C-shift. The shift is a six-person crew, and the firefighters spent the morning raking, trimming weeds and doing other yard work. The five firefighters were Rickey Cline, Greg Mason, Capt. Brian Smith, Adam Wetherbee and Sean Garrity. The sixth firefighter, Bronson Velarde, was in Cannon Ball, N.D., at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, Cline said.

“This is a way to recognize the veterans, especially the elder ones who served so long ago, and to let them know they are not forgotten,” Cline said. “You paved the way for a lot of folks here [who] don’t realize [it], especially the little ones. Thank you, and we appreciate it.”

Cline also thanked Piipash Shell, a convenience store at the corner of Pima and Indian School roads, for its sponsorship. More fundraisers are planned in the coming year, including a horseshoe tournament and a barbecue, Cline said.

Along with a freshly cleaned yard, Aguilar received a bucket of food goodies, gift certificates for a steak meal and a movie ticket gift card.

Adam Weatherbee trims a flower bush. Rickey Cline cuts weeds and trims the grass.
He also received plaque, worded as follows: “The Salt River Fire Department, in conjunction with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, takes great pleasure in recognizing and commending Mr. Robert Aguilar for your service in the United States Navy. Please accept this plaque as a token of our respect and appreciation of your efforts defending our beliefs and protecting our way of life. Your contribution and tireless devotion will pave the way for our future generations to come.”