February, 2024 Newsletter

Unified Arizona Veterans February newsletter.


Jhennicea Morrow

2/2/202415 min read

Image of a desert mountain rage, with blue text reading: You're a part of the conversation. On the right side is the UAV Logo
Image of a desert mountain rage, with blue text reading: You're a part of the conversation. On the right side is the UAV Logo

"The Voice of Arizona's Veterans"

Welcome, once more, to the conversation! The monthly Unified Arizona Veterans newsletter. In this newsletter, you will learn about events and dates, get reminders, be provided legislative updates, and have the peace of mind that you're keeping up to date with state-wide veteran-focused

“In the coldest February, as in every other month in every other year, the best thing to hold on to in this world is each other.”
Linda Ellerbee

Message from the Chair

Photo of Travis Burns
Photo of Travis Burns
Hello, and welcome to “The Conversation.” This U.A.V. newsletter was started as part of the U.A.V. mission to become the premier information resource for anyone who is involved in the Arizona veteran community.

My name is Travis Burns, and I am the Chair of Unified Arizona Veterans. (U.A.V.) I am a US Army Infantry veteran. I served from 1987 to 1991, with service on the Korean Demilitarized Zone, and in the 1991 Gulf War. My primary areas of focus in the veteran service .

community are on military-specific moral conflict and injury, and veteran suicide.

Things are happening with U.A.V. We have several incoming Board Members, and we look forward to their contributions. We have the 2023 Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on the BRAND-NEW U.A.V. YouTube channel. If you haven’t yet attended a AVHOF Induction, take a look at the video. If you like what you see on the video, keep in mind that Nominations for the AVHOF are open until March 31st . However, the 31st of March 2024 is a Sunday, and your Nominations need to be sent via US Mail to the U.A.V. P.O. Box, so it would be better to get them in well before Saturday the 30th . (Please see azuav.org for details of Nominating an Arizona veteran.)

We’ve also updated the U.A.V. website, with more to come. Drop by azuav.org and check out some of the updates to the website: Our social media links connect you with U.A.V. on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the U.A.V. YouTube Channel.

The next U.A.V. Membership Meeting is February 3rd., and the public is welcome to attend. If you are interested in veterans, I hope to see you there.
Thank you,
Travis Burns
U.A.V. Chair

(928) 701-6997

Editor's note: The U.A.V. P.O. Box is:

P. O. Box 34338, Phoenix, AZ 85067

If you are a veteran organization, Veterans Affairs department, or veteran-focused group interested in joining the U.A.V., please visit our website.

Following the February 3rd Membership Meeting will be an AVHOF Nominations Orientation Session.

The Orientation Session is for veterans and the public who wish to nominate an Arizona veteran to the Class of 2024, AVHOF/Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. https://avhof.org/

To attend:
RSVP to: secretary@azuav.org

Onward to the Events

The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System

The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System has 4 events to share with us!

The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System Campus
The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System Campus
  1. Four Chaplains 81st Annual Memorial Service.
    Date: February 4, 2024
    Time: 1:00pm
    Place: Kino Veteran’s Memorial Park, Tucson, Arizona

  2. SAVAHCS will be celebrating National Salute to Veteran Patients, February 11- 17, 2024.

  3. Tucson Vets Serving Vets Stand Down & Career Fair
    Date: March 13-14, 2024,
    Place: Ramada Inn, 777 West Cushing Street, Tucson, Arizona

  4. SAVAHCS Fisher House Open House
    Date: March 15, 2024
    Time: 11:00am - 1:00pm
    Place: 3601 S 6th Ave 9-135fh building, Tucson, AZ 85723

Operation Rose Garden - Women Marines Association

Women Marines Association AZ-1 Roadrunner Chapter invites the community to their 4th Annual Operation Rose Garden ceremony to honor the legacy of Women Marines who are buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona.

Operation Rose Garden graphic, displaying a rose being placed on the grave of a marine
Operation Rose Garden graphic, displaying a rose being placed on the grave of a marine

Annually, WMA AZ-1 honors women buried at the National Cemetery to commemorate the day the that Women were allowed to serve in the Marine Corps. This Chapter searched over 78000 graves and identified 150 Women Marines buried. Chapter Members, community members & ceremony attendees will be laying a red rose on each Woman Marine's grave to honor and remember their fearless trailblazing service to our nation.

When: February 10th, 2024
Where: 23029 N Cave Creek Rd Phoenix AZ 85024 (meet at the Visitor's
Time: 9am - 11:30am (please arrive by 8:45am)

The event will include an opening ceremony with Women Marines, speakers, The Arizona Patriot Guard Riders Young Marines, and the Veterans Administration!

This event is open to the public & is friend and family friendly! You do not need to be a Marine or Veteran to attend. All Eras, All Branches, All Welcome to support this event!

City of Surprise VetFest

The City of Surprise is excited to announce the inaugural Vet Fest – an event focused on bringing veterans together for fun, community and connections to services.

2024 Event Details
Saturday, February 10, 2024
5pm – 8pm
Mark Coronado Park
15960 N. Bullard A

Enjoy music, food, vendor booths,
information from veteran service
providers and more!

AVHOF Society Scholarship Program

The deadline to apply for the 2024 Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society Scholarship Program is February 15, 2024.

Please share this opportunity with eligible veterans and military members. Since its inception, the AVHOFS has awarded more than $150,000 in unrestricted scholarships to Arizona residents pursuing a higher education at learning institutions within the State of Arizona. This year, the Society has expanded our program to include students who are pursuing trade schools and associate degree programs. For more
information, see the attached flyer or go to the AVHOFS website at:

Veterans Heritage Project

The 5th Annual Saluting Stories of Service Gala
Chateau Luxe
1175 E Lone Cactus Drive, Phoenix, AZ

Saturday, March 2, 2024 at 5pm
Join Veterans Heritage Project on March 2 for an evening to recognize the impact and legacy of our veterans' service and their inspiration to our next generation.The event will honor Iraq and Afghanistan veteran Rose Mattie with the Storyteller Award. Rose made history as one of the first women to train and embed with special forces, and went on to become a Blackhawk helicopter pilot.

And Mark McCullough, one of the first students in the program, will receive the Alumni Service Award. A history teacher for the past 12 years, Mark brings veterans into his classroom to share the stories, morals, and lessons that were once impressed upon him.

Gala guests will hear from the honorees, as well as enjoy mystery boxes, a live auction, and the opportunity to win $10,000 through the At-TEN-tion Pays Raffle sponsored by Sanderson Lincoln. The proceeds from the event will help VHP serve expanded numbers of students, veterans, schools, and Arizona communities by funding program technology, publishing, veteran recognition, teacher training, and school outreach expenses. To learn more about the Saluting Stories of Service Gala or purchase tickets, visit gala.veteransheritage.org.

Salt River Project is the Presenting Sponsor. Additional event sponsors include TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Sanderson Lincoln, Plexus Worldwide, Kiwanis Club of Carefree, and Wells Fargo.

The 5th Annual Saluting Stories of Service Gala

Location: Chateau Luxe

1175 E Lone Cactus Drive, Phoenix, AZ

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2024
Time: 5pm

Additions: Black Tie Options/Mess Dress

$250 individual ticket

$2,000 table for 10 (savings of $50 per person)

Deadline for registration is February 23, 2024

Ceremony and Concert to Honor Military and Veteran Women.

Date: Saturday, March 23, 2024
Time: 3pm to 6pm
Location:Madison Center for the Arts
5601 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ

Hosted by Veterans First Ltd.

Veterans, families, friends, and the public are invited to help make this a great day of celebration. The program starts with a ceremony recognizing women who served from World War II through the Global War on Terror, including Rosie the Riveters. Guest speakers include leaders from the Arizona Department of Veterans' Services and the Women Veteran Program of the Phoenix VA Medical Center. Universal Artist Jeff Senour and the Called to Serve band will perform the “Freedom Rock Experience.” Jeff Senour and CTS have made it their mission to honor our Military, Veterans and First Responders who place others before self.


Veterans First Ltd has served veterans in Arizona since 2003.

For more information, go to https://veteransfirstltd.org/news/

The 17th Annual Patriotic Awards Luncheon

Hosted by the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society, will be held on Friday, April 19, 2024.
Please note that there's been a change of venue — the event will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton - Phoenix - Mesa, located at 1011 W. Holmes Avenue, Mesa, AZ (US 60 & Alma School Rd)

We are also pleased to announce this year's Copper Award honorees, which include:
UAV Copper Star
- Abe McCann, City of Tempe
UAV Copper Shield
- Representative Stacey Travers
AVHOFS Copper Eagle
- Military Assistance Mission and TriWest Healthcare Alliance
AVHOFS Copper Swor
d - Kelly Mills, Veteran Advocate

Tickets will go on sale on Friday, January 26th. Please check the AVHOFS website at www.avhof.org or our social media pages for the registration link and more info!

Date: Friday, April 19, 2024
Time: 11:00am - 2:15pm
Location: Doubletree by Hilton - Phoenix - Mesa, located at 1011 W. Holmes Avenue, Mesa, AZ

Community Reception and Book Signing

Join us as we honor the veterans of Since You Asked and celebrate the achievement of our students.

Save the Date!

Date:Sunday, April 28, 2024

Time: 1pm

Location: Sheraton Phoenix Downtown
340 N. 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ

Free and open to the public!
Valet and self parking are available at a 50% discount.

During the school year, students from middle and high schools across Arizona interview veterans and write their service story for publication in Since You Asked. Attendees have the opportunity to purchase a book,

interact with veterans, and thank them for their service.

Projects & Information

Equine-Assisted Learning & Resiliency Workshop

West Valley Women Veterans collaborated with non-profit organization, First Page, founded by US Army Veteran, Amanda Tallman, LMSW to host an Equine-Assisted Learning & Resiliency Workshop for 10 Women Veterans!

🐎 Together, we navigated the journey of self-discovery, strength, and mutual support, guided by the wisdom and grace of our equine companions.

It was wonderful to connect with other women in the

community who have shared experiences & it is beautiful to see where everyone is on their post-military journey! We are all about making a genuine community connections & empowering each other!

Contact Amanda for collaboration opportunities & tailoring a workshop for your organization!

Arizona Veteran Survey

Your voice matters! 📣

Participate in the Arizona Veteran Survey, make a difference, & be apart of something bigger!

Your responses are completely confidential — Your input & valuable insights will help inform positive changes for service members, veterans, & their families in our community!

After you complete the survey, you can opt-in for a gift card drawing!

📋Click to get started & check out past survey findings from the ASU College of Health Solutions:

USS PHOENIX (SSN 702) Cold War Monument

USS Phoenix to Rise from Her Ashes and Become Part of a Major Southwest Monument!

For the past thirty-two years, a small group of Cold War veterans and others in the Phoenix community have

been associated with the Los Angeles-class, nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, USS Phoenix (SSN 702). During her operational service, a strong bond was established with the boat, including rides which were organized for interested Phoenix citizens.
In 1998, the USS Phoenix (SSN 702) was decommissioned. That small group of Cold War veteran and community volunteer fans in the Phoenix area simply could not bear to see this submarine forgotten and face such an ignoble end. A plan was developed, and an effort was launched to save her sail and rudder for use as the eventual centerpiece of an impressive new Cold War monument in Arizona.
The result of a remarkable amount of detailed preparation work, a shovel-ready building plan for the monument was created and submitted to the City of Phoenix, which dedicated a site in a downtown city park for its installation—the design was fully approved and ready to go, culminating in a recent city pledge of $3.5M toward the monument’s construction!
The monument’s location in Steele Indian School Park in the central part of the city puts it adjacent to the local VA Hospital and Arizona State Veteran Home, so it will be especially accessible to Cold War and other veterans residing at those facilities. To learn more, visit our website at

Chinle VA Clinic Now Providing 5-Day-A-Week Primary Care Services

Leadership from the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network (VISN 22), Northern Arizona VA Health Care System (NAVAHCS), and Navajo Nation participate in ribbon cutting ceremony, Jan. 22 to celebrate the grand opening of the new Chinle VA Clinic.

The Northern Arizona VA Health Care System (NAVAHCS) is officially providing reliable 5-day-a-week, face-to-face primary care services at its rural health clinic located in Chinle.

To celebrate the significant expansion of services, NAVAHCS hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at the clinic on Monday, Jan. 22. Leadership representatives from the Veterans Health Administration, Indian Health Service and Navajo Nation all spoke during the event to acknowledge the accomplishment.

You can read more about the event on the VA's website.

Event Wrap-Up


SRPMIC Vice President and AVHOF recipient
Ricardo Leonard ('23) and
U.A.V. Board Member and AVHOF recipient Reggie Yates ('13)

In stark contrast to that day eighty-two (82) years ago, the Pearl Harbor Remembrance at Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) on December 7, 2023, was the perfect day.

Blue skies and bright sunshine, the chirping of birds and buzzing of bees in the light breeze added an air of peace, dignity, and serenity to the proceedings.

Amanda White, SRPMIC Veterans Representative, was Master of Ceremonies for the program. Hosted by Vice President Ricardo Leonard (AVHOF ’23), the ceremony featured an explanation of the layout of the memorial including the “Deckhouse” which is the largest piece of the USS Arizona (BB-39) awarded to any organization in the Continental US. Community Manager Bryan Meyers provided details on the significance of key features of the memorial which was conceived, designed, and funded by SRPMIC. Unique to this observance is the traditional ‘Breathing of the Flag' during which the American Flag is presented to each of the cardinal directions in honor of service members of all branches and eras.

VP Leonard highlighted the story of a 19-year-old member of the Chickasaw Nation who reportedly was the first Native American casualty of WWII as a USS Arizona Crewman. VP Leonard and members of TAL Post #114, “Bushmasters” were dispatched to Hawaii by then VP Martin Harvier, to receive the US flag which now flies daily and majestically over the memorial.

Unified Arizona Veterans / Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame members attending the ceremony including Charles Byers (Class of ’18), Jeanne Blaes (‘16), Andy Jaime (‘16) and David Lucier (‘09). Carol Culbertson (‘07) related to us a compelling story which outlines her family’s involvement in creating the initial, temporary structure which preceded what is now the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Some members are pictured in the photographs accompanying this article.

Several hundred onlookers, including veterans from all services as well as toddlers and infants in mothers’ arms, witnessed the ceremony, which is an annual event.

VP Leonard was pleased at the turnout but is in high hopes that more organizations and individuals will get the word and participate in the 2024 event. UAV fully expects to assist in meeting that challenge and invites our membership to do the same going forward.

Respectfully submitted by: Reggie Yates --U.A.V. BOD/ Event Chair/Past Chair who also attended the ceremony.

Arizona Veteran Hall of Fame Recipients:
David Lucier ('09),
U.A.V. Secretary Carol Culbertson ('07), and
U.A.V. Board Member Reggie Yates ('13)

We care for each other, in sickness and distress

Sue Crego

Sue Crego, wife of Gene Crego, could use some love and support. Cards and letters may be sent to Sue at:
2357 W Naranja Ave
Mesa, AZ 85202

George Cushing

George Cushing is recovering at home from a stroke.
Cards and letters may be sent to George at
20089 N. Pinewish Court
Surprise, AZ


Hello Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs)!

Yes, it's U.A.V. Membership Renewal time; it's a new year! U.A.V. operates on a calendar year basis.

This Announcement applies to VSOs who are current members of U.A.V., as well as VSOs who would like to join U.A.V.!

The List of current U.A.V. Organizations is posted on the website: azuav.org

Organization Leaders and/or Treasurers, be sure to print out the Renewal Form on the website, and include the completed form with your check payment:

DAV, TAL, & VFW: $100.00 annually

Other VSOs: $25.00 annually

Veteran and veteran-related organizations wishing to join UAV, please go to the UAV website and click on UAV Membership, then click on: Join UAV, which outlines how to apply to UAV via US mail.

Should you have any questions after you review the Join UAV information, contact:
Jerry Bernard, U.A.V. Treasurer, at: treasurer@azuav.org
Carol Culbertson, U.A.V. Secretary, at: secretary@azuav.org.

Thank you!

Carol Culbertson, U.A.V. Secretary

Did You Know...

Did you know... that Arizona's Be Connected program can help with transportation? Assistance for those eligible can include rides to VA and other medical appointments when existing transportation services are not available, fuel cards and, in some cases, car repair. Requests take 5-7 business days to process. Learn more and submit a request by calling 1-866-429-8387 or visiting: https://connectveterans.org/transportation/.

Did you know... the record for the longest serving Secretary of State (1949 - 1977, 28 years) and the shortest term for any Arizona governor (1977-1978) are both held by the same person.

Harvey Wesley Bolin was born July 1, 1909 and died March 4, 1978. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered in all fourteen counties of Arizona.

Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza - 1700 W. Washington St. Is named in his honor. Established March 9, 1978 by Arizona legislature, 5 days after his death.

Newsletter Info

On the website, you'll be able to see past newsletters (archive) that have gone out as well as see submissions that didn't quite make it in time, and view the calendar which has all the dates. There is also a form where you can submit entries such as veteran-focused groups, events and dates, news, event wrap ups, membership focus, projects, and even questions you might want answered by other veterans and veteran groups.

Entries are due the 22nd of every month.

What is this newsletter?

A statewide newsletter sharing concerns, events and news related to or affecting Arizona veterans.

It is "The Conversation" because the goal is to connect voices throughout the state, assisting and growing the effectiveness of all VSO's. In this newsletter, you will learn about events and dates, get reminders, be provided legislative updates, and have the peace of mind that you're keeping up to date with state-wide veteran-focused information. On the website, you'll be able to see past newsletters (archive) that have gone out as well as see submissions that didn't quite make it in time, and view the calendar which has all the dates.

There is also a form where you can submit entries, such as events, news, and questions you might want answered by other veterans and veteran groups. We love photos and event wrap-ups, let us know about events you have attended! We are dedicated to sharing all veteran events in 'The Conversation'.

When is the next newsletter? Do I need to subscribe?

The newsletter will be sent out very early in the morning, on the 1st of every month.

We highly recommend subscribing by going to: http://tinyurl.com/UAVNewsletter, even if you have been forwarded the newsletter from another source. By subscribing, you will always get the newsletter promptly the day it goes out, and it allows us to keep an accurate count of our subscribers, as well as allowing you to unsubscribe from the newsletter whenever you wish.