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Veterans Day Recognition Program Pays Tribute to SRPMIC Employee Veterans

President Delbert Ray Sr. shakes hands while presenting the SRPMIC Challenge Coin to fellow veteran, Kevin Riding In, for his service to the Community and the country.

On November 9, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community held the Employee Veterans Recognition Program at Two Waters.

The program began with SRPMIC President Delbert W. Ray Sr., and Vice-President Martin Harvier delivering opening remarks. Council member Thomas Largo gave the opening blessing. The Salt River Police Department Honor Guard posted the colors, while the SRPMIC Employee Choir sang the national anthem.

Gregg Bacome, a 20-year Arizona Air National Guard veteran and road maintenance supervisor from the Public Works Department, was the guest speaker and shared some fun facts. He explained how to this day it’s a tradition for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to track the exact coordinates of Santa Claus each Christmas Eve for children all over the world. He ended his speech with the mission statement from the United States Air Force and an inspirational message for everyone.

“You don’t have to be in the military or even wear the uniform ... as I look out in the audience at each and every one of you, I see a little bit of leader, innovator and warrior in all of you,” he said.

Shortly afterward, all employee veterans were asked to state their name and the branch of the military in which they served. Members of the Tribal Council shook their hands and gave them a special SRPMIC Challenge Coin. The coin commemorates the veterans with the SRPMIC great seal on one face and symbols representing all branches of the armed forces on the other side.

The choir sang the songs for each military branch, and veterans were encouraged to stand and cheer during their specific branch song.

The program closed with members of the Salt River High School JROTC completing a drill team presentation, and the high school band followed with some patriotic selections.

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