CHAMBER PROVIDES AWARENESS AND ASSISTANCE TO MILITARY MEMBERS

by Jeff Turney, Chair, Glendale Chamber of Commerce Military & Veterans Affairs Committee

What is the value of freedom? What price do we place on being able to live in a free society? Our military members take on the responsibility of defending the security of our great nation while sustaining American influence abroad.

This is no easy task, and we all should realize the immense pressure this can place on our service members and their families. The Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee (MVAC) hopes to alleviate some of that pressure by providing awareness and assistance to current and former military members.

We also assist the Glendale Chamber of Commerce with promoting current and future programs directed toward Luke Air Force Base and our local military organizations. This focuses our efforts toward bringing our entire community together as we show our appreciation to the brave women and men who accept or have accepted the challenge of protecting our way of life.

The all-volunteer MVAC is composed of military veterans, active duty servicemen and women, business owners and civilians wanting to support our Armed Forces members. The committee focuses on five main events each year to include the annual Veterans Day Ceremony, the Luke Shoot-Out Golf Tournament, the Mayor’s Big Dog Motorcycle Run, the Military Induction Ceremony and the Mayor’s Stand Up for Veterans event. The committee also takes on ancillary projects such as the Saver’s Flag Repurposing program, the Treasure House flag pole installation project, and the Thunderbird Park flagpole installation project.

The annual Veterans Day ceremony program honors veterans and includes speeches from high-ranking military officials and local legislators. Following the indoor ceremony, attendees are invited outside for a flag-raising ceremony honoring all branches of service. A flag-retirement ceremony in which residents can have unserviceable flags properly retired during a formal military ceremony follows this event, and lunch is provided to attendees.

The annual Luke Shoot-Out Golf Tournament regularly sells out, and for the first time this year, its proceeds will help fund future MVAC projects. The Mayor’s bi-annual Big Dog Motorcycle Run benefits scholarships for veterans’ education at Glendale Community College and in the past, ASU West. This run includes a ride down Luke Air Force Base’s main runway, a ride around the interior of University of Phoenix Stadium and finishes with a trip around the ISM Raceway.

In the off years, an appreciation dinner thanks those active duty military members who are volunteering in our community by providing them with an awards dinner.

Our annual Military Induction Ceremony honors local high school students entering the armed services. During the ceremony, students receive graduation stoles showing their future branch of service, a challenge coin and a certificate of appreciation from the Mayor’s office honoring their commitment to protect our country.

Finally, the Mayor’s annual Stand Up for Veterans event provides an average of over 500 veterans and family members with no-cost legal assistance, community service opportunities, on-site job offers, haircuts and other services.

These are only the main events the MVAC coordinates throughout the year. Visit our page within the Chamber of Commerce’s website (glendaleazchamber.org) to see additional programs and events the chamber has participated in. If you are interested in sponsoring, participating or assisting with any of these above or future MVAC events, please contact Chamber Liaison Harry Shapiro at 623-937-4754.