The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community honored its veterans from all branches of the military in its annual Veterans Day Program on November 11, outside the new Veterans Hall, 10005 E. Osborn, Building 2, Scottsdale, Arizona.
The morning started off with a continental breakfast at 9 a.m. This year’s program included a flag-raising by American Legion Bushmasters Post 114 and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Salt River Veterans Hall. Taking part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were SRPMIC President Diane Enos, Vice-President Martin Harvier, former President Ivan Makil, former Vice-President Merna Lewis, Benita Martinez and American Legion Bushmasters Post 114 Commander Ricardo Leonard.
Leonard and Rick Dumas conducted a roll call of all the veterans, followed by musical performances by Alia Shaw, who sang “God Bless America” in O’odham, and Makil, who played “Taps” on the trumpet.
Guest speaker Ena Valenzuela of Lehi shared memories of her family members who were in the military. She talked about how Native Americans were the first to go to war, and how war would change them.
Betty Jefferson of the Veterans Medical Leadership Council (VMLC) talked about the non-profit organization, which has been serving veterans and active-duty military in Maricopa County for 12 years. VMLC would like to help any veterans who have recently returned from combat; if anyone knows such a veteran, they are welcome to refer them to VMLC (www.vmlc.net).
After the program, a lunch for the veterans was catered by Community business Tweety’s Catering, owned by Cecelia Antone. Salt River royalty helped out by serving the seniors their lunch and giving out T-shirts to everyone.
In Harvier’s closing remarks, he told the story of one veteran who said a song once saved his life during war. Every time he hears that song, Harvier is reminded of this veteran, and it changed his life. Then he thanked everyone for the big turnout.
SRPMIC Veterans Representative George Robinson said, “The Veterans Hall is for all Community members and those who served in any branch of the military who need assistance with veterans information or services provided by the federal Veterans Administration.” The Hall also provides services for non–Community member veterans, such as Community employees who are veterans. It also serves as a meeting hall for the American Legion Bushmasters Post 114. Veteran’s Hall office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Times and days may vary if a special event is scheduled or a veteran’s funeral is taking place.
For more information on services available through the Salt River Veterans Hall, Veterans Affairs Representative George Robinson may be reached by phone at (480) 362-5530, by fax at (480) 850-8159, and by e-mail at email@example.com.