Thursday, June 29, 2017
3,000 Airmen Volunteer for the Luke Service Blitz Day
Photo by Carolyn Dryer, The Glendale Star
Volunteering in the community has become an important part of airmen life at Luke Air Force Base.  On June 16, 2017, 3,000 airmen from Luke went to over 100 locations around the valley to perform a variety of neighborhood clean up and improvements.  The program was designed to pause the daily mission at Luke and focus on service to the community.  Sharon Kozak, 56th Fighter Wing community support coordinator said "This service initiative is about putting the needs of others above our own.  It's about taking action to make the world a better place."

Two of the programs in the area included removing weeds, dead plants, raking granite areas, picking up trash and plant several trees at 99th Avenue and Northern along the New River Trail and cleaning up a home on 72nd Drive by removing dead plants and trash and replacing it with gravel.

Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard, 56th Fighter Wing Commander added "The Airmen of the 56th Fighter Wing not only live in the community, we are part of the community.  We have been planning this day since January with the goal of serving others.  We know that when you take your focus off yourself and serve others, you build resilience and community."

It was a typical hot day in the area so they started working at 5 am ending at 10 am.  Even Mayor Jerry Weiers showed up to offer assistance.

Vet Verify is Now Active
All honorably discharged Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard veterans are invited to visit to confirm eligibility to access the Veterans online shopping benefit.  The Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Marine Corps Exchange, Navy Exchange and Coast Guard Exchange are honored to offer the benefit to recognize Veterans' time in uniform.  If you are a veteran or know a veteran, please let them know about the shopping benefit and make sure they log in to ensure quick and convenient access before the program formally launches on Veterans Day, November 11th. 

The tax free benefit will save veterans money and help the military community by generating earnings in support of critical military programs including Army Child Development Centers, Youth Programs and Fitness Centers, Air Force Outdoor Recreation and affordable lunches for military personnel children overseas.

From U.S. Representative Krysten Sinema 
"Holding the VA Accountable"
U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema Arizona's 9th District
Veterans in Arizona count on the VA health system for quality and timely care.  Since the revelations three years ago in Phoenix, the legislature has worked to pass legislation that increases accountability at the VA.  In mid June, the House passed a bipartisan bill known as the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.  It is a common sense solution that allows the Secretary of the Veterans Administration to fire poorly performing employees, increases accountability and protects whistleblowers who report misconduct.  The bipartisan bill empowers good VA employees and provides increased training for supervisors to correct problems as they arise.  There is still more to be done.  This practical legislation allows the VA to better serve the veterans.

Representative Sinema said they will not stop fighting until every veteran has access to the healthcare they earned and deserve.  They will continue to reach across the aisle to find reasonable solutions that support Arizona veterans and provide access to the highest standard of medical care.

Click here for more information
Arizona Honor Flight Veterans Welcomed Home from 
a Trip to Washington DC
Old Breed Detachment #767 holding flags, photo by Randy Miller/Glendale Daily Planet
Twenty five Arizona veterans of World War II and Korea returned from a three day trip to Washington D.C. to a heartfelt reception at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix last month.  Prior to exiting the aircraft, their arrival was announced over the terminal sound system.  People in the terminal stopped and lined the walk way.  As they entered the terminal, they began to clap and cheer.  The Marine Corps Old Breed Detachment #767 led the procession through the airport displaying the flags of the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard, POW/MIA and the United States.

The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America's veterans for all their sacrifices.  They transport our heroes to Washington D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials.  Top priority is given to the senior veterans, World War II survivors along with those veterans who may be terminally ill.  Of all the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation and as a culturally diverse, free society.  According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 World War II veterans die each day.

20,558 veterans were flown to our capital in 2016.

Midwestern University Military Induction Ceremony for Graduates
Dr. Geoppinger shaking the hand of a graduate, photo courtesy of Midwestern University
Glendale's Midwestern University held their commencement ceremony last month.  As part of the graduation event, military healthcare graduates from the four Midwestern University Colleges received special honors.  Graduates who are currently in military service and those who will soon begin serving in the military were invited back to the stage to be introduced, honored and receive a challenge coin from University President and CEO Kathleen H. Geoppinger.  There were 45 graduates representing four colleges: Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine; College of Dental Medicine-Arizona; College of Pharmacy-Glendale; and the College of Health Sciences.  22 of the graduates honored were from the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine which was the largest from that school in the college's history.

Lt. Gen. Dr. Douglas J. Robb, director of the Defense Health Agency performed the commissioning ceremony for military graduates.  He is the second highest ranking general office in the United States Air Force.   Lt. Gen. Robb is a 1984 graduate of Midwestern University's Chicago campus in Downers Grove, Ill.

Upcoming Events
Our Military & Veterans Affairs Committee members work hard to advocate for active and former Military. One way they do this is by holding various community events.

Click here for a list of upcoming events backed by some of our members!
Does your business honor our heroes with specials and discounts for active military 
and/or veterans? If so let us know! Email you company name and a discount description Jackie Peyton at 
Please contact Chair of the Military & Veterans Affairs Committee,
Sgt. Jeff Turney, through our Chamber liaison, Harry Shapiro, at 623-937-4754
if you would like to learn more or have any suggestions
on where we can be of assistance.