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HOW IT FEELS TO SUPPORT THE VETERANS DAY PARADE: Bank of America speaks out

 

Honoring America’s’s Veterans and the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade are so grateful for all our sponsors – without which the Parade would never happen! The team at one of our new sponsors this year, Bank of America, took the time to write about what it means to be involved:

 

Bank of America Elevates Veteran Support as

New Sponsor of the 2017 Veterans Day Parade

 

 

Veterans Day is a time to honor the men and women who dedicated themselves to defending our great country and its freedom, being in service at home and around the world for generations. Every year, Phoenix honors its brave local veterans in several ways, most notably by gathering the community together for the annual Veterans Day Parade. And every year, Bank of America has been there with a full team of employees and family walking in celebration of our freedom.

This year will be no different, with the bank’s contingent in the parade spanning more than 300 participants. Making the walk extra special this year will be a VIP guest by the name of U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Graham Dorsey, who the day before on Nov. 10, received keys to a mortgage-free, newly renovated home in Phoenix from Bank of America and the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals. Lance Corp. Dorsey was assigned to the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines India Company for his first deployment to Kuwait in 2003, seeing his share of combat over the years. He served for four years and was honorably discharged in 2006. He is one of the more than 2,100 veterans and families who have received a mortgage-free home from Bank of America since 2012.

Sponsoring this event in Phoenix is another way to expand our support locally by bringing together employees, families and friends to show support and gratitude to veterans locally and across the nation and the globe.  We have been long-time participants in the parade and work with veterans and their families on a daily basis, but stepping into the sponsorship role this year has allowed us to be that much more involved in the parade and all of the activities surrounding it. From participating in meetings to providing volunteers, we’re proud to take our involvement to the next level this year to show support and gratitude to our veterans.

The parade caps off nearly 100 years of the bank’s commitment to the military, veterans and spouses starting in 1920. Today, Bank of America provides financial services to approximately 2 million military households across the country, including of course the active military, veterans and their families right here in the Phoenix area.

The bank focuses on making financial lives better, whether that be through specialized banking services and rates for active military; career recruitment and advancement within the company along with benefits specifically for military and spouses; providing free financial education tailored for the unique needs of military and veterans to make a smooth and successful transition to civilian life; or grants and employee volunteerism with veteran-focused charities and nonprofits to the tune of $18 million nationally since 2009.

While Bank of America works to serve the members of our military and veterans, participation alongside our neighbors in supporting these outstanding Americans helps our team join together even more and allows community members to meet heroes in real life – ones that are even living right next door.


Look for the Bank of America team at this year’s Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, Nov. 11, in downtown Phoenix. To find out more about how to be a sponsor of the Parade in the future, email paula@pedene.com.

2017-11-10T17:15:56-07:00

EIGHT WAYS TO EXPRESS APPRECIATION ON VETERANS DAY

vet-in-parade

As we prepare for our 21st annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade this Saturday, we urge you to consider these ways you can show veterans you care on this important day. (Courtesy of www.military.com)

1. SHOW UP

Attend a Veterans Day event in your area ‒ not just a picnic with friends, but an honest-to-goodness parade or service for veterans. (The Phoenix Veterans Day Parade is a great choice!) Roy Rogers said, “We can’t all be heroes; someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” Veterans Day is a great opportunity to do just that.

vets-in-parade-32. DONATE

There are a plethora of wonderful organizations who offer all manner of support, services and appreciation for our service members. To get a few ideas for donations, you can check out this page.

3. FLY A FLAG – CORRECTLY

Veterans Day is a great opportunity to fly the flag! Just make sure you’re observing the proper rules for display. Not sure exactly what those are? Check out Military.com’s guide to the flag.

vets-in-parade4. ASK SOMEONE ABOUT THEIR SERVICE

It seems like we all know someone who has served and Veterans Day is a great time to ask them about their service. Some questions to get started are: What did you do in the military? How long did you serve? What was your favorite moment in all your time in the service? Did anyone else in your family serve? Why did you choose to go into the service branch you did? Do not ask if they’ve killed anyone and should your veteran be a combat vet who is either unwilling to share or plainly states what they went through, be supportive without being intrusive. Sometimes you don’t have to say anything, just listen and give them your full attention.

5. WRITE

If you know a veteran, write a simple postcard or e-card that recognizes them on Veterans Day. If you don’t know a veteran, look up the closest military installation and send one there. Small acts of recognizing someone’s service, even anonymously, are appreciated.

vets-in-parade-26. DON’T CONFUSE VETERANS DAY WITH MEMORIAL DAY

Veterans Day is a time to thank those who are serving or have served and are still with us. Memorial Day is to reflect and remember those who lost their lives in service to their country. Confusing the two or combining the two diminishes the importance of both.

7. VISIT A VA HOSPITAL

Find out what the policies are at your nearest VA hospital for interacting with patients or volunteering, and spend the day with a veteran. Many VA facilities will have events on Veterans Day or a special lunch you can help prepare. Even if you never interact with a veteran, helping at a facility is a way to give back.

8. GET OUTDOORS WITH A VETERAN

Invite a veteran or a military family to explore a national park ‒ admission is free for all visitors on Veterans Day. Being outside helps improve physical and mental health, boosts emotional well-being, and is a great way to celebrate the day with a veteran.


We hope you will join us at the 21st Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2017, to see Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit and all our Veteran Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” The parade typically boasts more than 100 entries, and this year will have a special float with nearly Cold War Veterans riding on it. The parade will also feature patriotic floats, high school marching bands, JROTC marching units, color guards, Veterans Service Organizations, animals, novelty units and much, much more.

For more information on the parade and the parade route, click HERE

2017-11-10T09:30:10-07:00

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SERVICE MEMBER: The point of view from someone currently serving

Sergeant Nicola Balletto (left) as part of an honor guard detail rendering Military Funeral Honors for a veteran.

Our veterans have the advantage of hindsight when it comes to looking back on their time in the military and what it meant. But what does serving mean to someone currently in the armed forces?

Like many of our veterans can undoubtedly relate to, Nicola Balletto – an Arizonan who is now a Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps (selected for promotion to Staff Sergeant) – wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life when she joined the service. “I wanted to make my family proud and do something challenging,” she relates. “The military, and specifically the Marine Corps, provided just that. It gave me the direction and discipline that I desperately needed.”

Balletto says she wasn’t quite sure what she expected when she joined the military and headed off to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island for recruit training. “I knew it would be challenging, but I was still very young and just sort of ‘along for the ride,’” she admits. “The reality was that it was challenging – and then some. I have been pushed to limits, both physically and mentally, that I never thought I would encounter before.”

Sergeant Balletto on the range.

Now in her seventh year of service and based at the School of Infantry – East on Camp Geiger (a satellite facility to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina), the 25-year-old Balletto says she’s learned a tremendous amount from her time in the service, and continues to learn more every day. “One of the most important things I’ve learned is independence and problem-solving,” she says. “I make decisions every day that affect many more than just me. That is something I don’t believe I would have learned outside of the military – at least not at my age.”

Like many veterans before her, to Balletto, being a service member means giving up your time and comfort to serve something greater than all of us. When the nation needs them, she and her fellow service members are ready to answer the call, leaving behind loved ones, routines and relative safety for countless unknowns.

Balletto says she would advise anyone considering being in the military to seek out options between the various branches to make sure they get the MOS (military occupational specialty) they find most alluring. “Whether you do ‘four and out’ or stay in 20+ years,” she says, “it’s important to make sure you’re doing something you enjoy. Being in the military is by no means a walk in the park, but it is absolutely rewarding. Prepare for many highs and equal lows, but joining the military is something I do not regret.”

As Veterans Day approaches, Balletto knows first-hand how important it is to honor them – not only on this day, but at all times. “Our veterans give up countless privileges and luxuries in order to help protect our country ‘from all enemies, foreign and domestic,’” she points out. “Veterans sacrifice during and after their service so that others don’t have to. They miss birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and countless ‘firsts,’ just so we can sleep soundly. I’m honored to travel the path that has been paved for me by those who came before me – and I am so thankful for my fellow veterans.”


Join us in honoring our veterans at this year’s Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, Saturday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. in downtown Phoenix. For all you need to know about the parade, click HERE.

2017-11-08T17:54:45-07:00

APS VETERANS VIDEO: Aaron Dudney

We were thrilled to see our Honoring America’s’s Veterans President, Aaron Dudney, featured in a great video by APS!

They say: “Twenty percent of our workforce are veterans, including Aaron Dudney, Manager Information Technology: ‘As far as my job goes at APS today, it’s every bit as fulfilling as when I was in the military.'”

2017-11-03T19:57:48-07:00

APS VETERANS VIDEO: Aaron Dudney

We were thrilled to see our Honoring America’s’s Veterans President, Aaron Dudney, featured in a great video by APS!

They say: “Twenty percent of our workforce are veterans, including Aaron Dudney, Manager Information Technology: ‘As far as my job goes at APS today, it’s every bit as fulfilling as when I was in the military.'”

Check out the video here:

2017-11-03T19:34:12-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Arizona Pageant Queen Grand Marshal Katie Schaaf

Arizona Pageant Queen Grand Marshal Katie Schaaf

Katie Schaaf of Glendale, Arizona, is the daughter of Lt Col Brian Schaaf, USAF (ret.) and Lisa Schaaf (also a USAF veteran).  She was crowned Miss High School America 2017 this summer in Little Rock, Arkansas. Over 150 young ladies from around the United States competed for the titles Miss High School America, Miss Jr. High America and Miss Collegiate America.

The Miss High School America Scholarship Pageant Organization was started in 2009 to provide personal and professional opportunities for young women. Schaaf will also be traveling throughout the year making appearances and promoting the national platform B.R.A.V.E. – Building Respect And Values for Everyone. In addition, she will be doing fundraisers throughout the year and, with the help of the Sandals Foundation, will be shipping school supplies to the Boscobel Primary School in Jamaica.

As Miss High School America, Katie was awarded a $10,000 college scholarship through the Livingston Foundation, a full-tuition scholarship to Western State Colorado University, a modeling contract with MMG and more. Part of her prize package also includes an all-expenses paid trip to Jamaica to volunteer at the Boscobel School.

Active in the local community, Katie is a regular volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul’s Phoenix Dining Room. She has also volunteered at the Arizona Veteran’s State Home, escorting veterans so they could watch the Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade, and is honored to have it come full circle as one of the 2017 Grand Marshals.


We hope you will join us at the 21st Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2017, to see all our Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” The parade typically boasts more than 100 entries, and this year will have a special float with nearly 20 Vietnam Veterans riding on it. The parade will also feature patriotic floats, high school marching bands, JROTC marching units, color guards, Veterans Service Organizations, animals, novelty units and much, much more.

For more information on the parade and the parade route, click HERE.

2017-11-03T19:09:42-07:00

MEET OUR MARSHALS: Business Community Grand Marshal Craig Opel

Business Community Grand Marshal Craig Opel

Lieutenant Colonel Craig Opel (USMC ret.), served 24 years in the United States Marine Corps, from 1976 to 2000. He entered the Naval Academy in 1972 as a midshipman and was commissioned a 2/LT USMC in June 1976.

During his career he served in all three Marine Expeditionary Forces, Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine Barracks 8th & I, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, the Naval Post Graduate School, Marine Corps Base Camp Butler Japan, Marine Corps Command & Staff College, and Marine Corps Systems Command.

Key assignments included Parade Commander at Marine Barracks 8th & I, being selected as the first “Data Processor” to command a Marine Communications Battalion, and serving as the Director of the Marine Corps Network Operations & Security Center.

Opel considers his greatest accomplishment being selected and serving as the Commander of 8th Communications Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. When asked about his biggest challenge, Opel jokingly says there were none: “In the Marine Corps, every day is a holiday, and every meal a feast.”

Since retirement, Opel has worked in a number of commercial capacities, including startups in Boston, Massachusetts, and Amsterdam, Netherlands. He also served as the Director of Communications for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Secretary of Defense Gates. Currently, he is a Senior Leader at APS.

Prior to joining APS in early 2015, Opel served as the Deputy CIO for NATO in Afghanistan and as the CIO for the USO.

He jokes that serving in the military is the “family business” – his father was a Navy Commander in World War II, his grandfather was a soldier in World War I, two uncles were in the Navy, and his two sons are both active-duty Marine officers.

Opel lives in Phoenix with his wife of 41 years, Peggy. In addition to their two USMC sons, Kyle and Ben, they have a daughter, Stacey.


We hope you will join us at the 21st Annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2017, to see all our Grand Marshals. This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” The parade typically boasts more than 100 entries, and this year will have a special float with nearly 20 Vietnam Veterans riding on it. The parade will also feature patriotic floats, high school marching bands, JROTC marching units, color guards, Veterans Service Organizations, animals, novelty units and much, much more.

For more information on the parade and the parade route, click HERE.

2017-11-03T19:05:26-07:00

PHOENIX VETERANS DAY PARADE ESSAY CONTEST: Our 3rd Place Winner

3rd Place

Craig Zeigler – 12th grade, Sunrise Mountain High School;
Teacher: Jennifer Kruska

THE ENEMY OF THE COLD WAR WAS FEAR ITSELF

War is a concept that has a certain stereotype in the minds of most people. It elicits thoughts of firefights in an isolated and faraway part of the world, far removed from the comforts and privileges of the United States. People are usually quick to acknowledge those fallen veterans who served in war and bear the scars from it. Their faces are typically promulgated over news broadcasts and tribute is paid for their fight against the opposing soldiers. However, this concept of war does not apply to a conflict that lasted for over 50 years – the Cold War.

A Russian nuclear missile on parade during the Cold War.

It is said that approximately 389 soldiers were killed in the years of the Cold War, a statistic that is not written about in the history books; nor was it shown on any news broadcasts. An example of this was an incident in 1960 of a U.S. Air Force ERB-47H Stratojet that was downed by a Soviet pilot over the Barents Sea. In this incident, the pilot, Bill Palm was killed, while ELINT operators Eugene Posa, Oscar Goforth and Dean Phillips, co-pilot Bruce Olmstead and navigator John McKone survived but were soon taken captive. These men could have easily been placed on desk duty and let each country’s respective political leaders talk it out, but instead felt an obligation that they needed to risk their lives in order to comfort the people. They were never acknowledged by the people, but their contribution was all that mattered.In the Cold War, our real enemy was faceless. It was an enemy as shadowy as the men deployed to eradicate this enemy. The true enemy during the years of the Cold War was fear itself. It was the first time in history where citizens scrambled to search the nearest dictionary for the meaning of war. The people were scared; fearful of an impending doom in the form of a nuclear weapon, where life would cease to exist before they knew it. Those same people scrambled to the nearest television set hoping to receive comfort and optimism from the words of the President, disregarding that they were already in safe hands. As a result, millions of service members were set to work. These personnel were sent to prevent the conventional war from ever taking place. They were dispatched from the air, sea, and land, as well as discreetly in environments where no one was ever able to know what really happened.

These men dying for their country were able to give the people of their country the opportunity to see another day, to extinguish any fear, and to work towards a world of peace.

As the son of a retired Naval Commander and FA-18 pilot, my heart goes out to all veterans, the ones recognized for their heroic efforts and the ones overlooked. Let Veterans Day be the day of commemorating all of whom have worn the uniform of any military branch, and acknowledge their great sacrifice and representation of our stars and stripes.


Please join us for the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, November 11 to honor our Cold War heroes and all our veterans. Our three Essay Contest winners will be riding on the Hall of Flame fire truck! For more info about the parade, click HERE.

2017-11-03T18:56:44-07:00

PHOENIX VETERANS DAY PARADE ESSAY CONTEST: Our 2nd Place Winner

2nd Place

 Ruby Price – 11th grade, Shadow Ridge High School; Teacher: Stacy Roberts

A SILENT SACRIFICE: THE MOST NOBLE OF THEM ALL

Much is forgotten to history. Sucked into the fleeting oblivion of human memory that causes a life-changing event for some to be non-existent for others. The service of Cold War veterans seems to fall under that category for many Americans. Those nearly 50 years of tension should be prevalent in most people’s minds, but we are finding that there is little to be said for those who served our country during those tumultuous times. For though the Cold War involved no combat, it was still a war, and countless sacrifices were made daily for Americans to live their lives in comfort.

As Veteran’s Day approaches, it is important that we acknowledge the silent sacrifice of those who served during the Cold War. It is safe to say that warriors are held in high esteem in our country. After all, our most popular sport is one where 300-pound men crash and tackle into each other, warring over an egg-shaped ball. Singularly, this speaks volumes on the emphasis on violence in our culture. This fixation carries over into who we value in our society, veterans included.

As Americans, we all love an invigorating battle of brute strength, but the Cold War was much more than that. Its battles were fought with words and threats, which are often taken less seriously in our culture. However, the Cold War was one of the most restive periods in American history. At any moment, the United States could have plunged into the third World War. At any moment, schools and cities could have been bombed. At any moment, the military could have been forced into action. Our veterans served with this fear burning in their minds, yet they pressed on.

On September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines flight 007 was shot down by the Soviet Union, killing 269 innocent civilians. My father, Donavon Price, was on the USS Coral Sea when this tragic event took place. Tensions were high and stress was palpable as the crew wondered what this act of aggression could lead to. They didn’t know whether they would head home after seven months at sea or be dispatched into enemy waters. The Cold War was filled with moments like this, moments of terror and anxiety as our country was pulled from the brink of war, time and time again. Should we not honor those who set aside their comfort, despite whether bloody battles were waged or not? Being a veteran has no conditions other than to serve your country, which is what these Cold War veterans have done, asking for nothing in return. They have sacrificed, though they haven’t shouted their exploits to the world. They sacrificed quietly, humbly, gracefully. A silent sacrifice; the most noble of them all. One that should be celebrated. Rewarded. Honored.


Please join us for the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, November 11 to honor our Cold War heroes and all our veterans. Our three Essay Contest winners will be riding on the Hall of Flame fire truck! For more info about the parade, click HERE.

2017-11-03T18:51:56-07:00

PHOENIX VETERANS DAY PARADE ESSAY CONTEST: Our 1st Place Winner!

1st Place

Ethan Brown – 11th grade, Seton Catholic Prep; Teacher: Jessica Breen

THE UNSPOKEN HEROES: NEVER FORGET

Cold War “duck and cover” drills at elementary schools were a constant reminder of imminent threat.

One of the tensest eras of American history was built not on what happened, but on what didn’t happen. It was an era where there were no direct conflicts between the two enemies. An era where there were no formal shots fired. An era where we protected ourselves against hypotheticals instead of actualities. This was the Cold War, a 46-year standoff between two superpowers. My grandfather is a Cold War Era veteran.

Ethan Brown’s grandfather, Msgt. Paul G. Agne, USAF.

My grandpa, Msgt. Paul G Agne, USAF Ret., enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school in 1971, serving over 22 years. When he enlisted, Vietnam, a proxy war between the U.S. and Soviet Union, was already going on. Everything my grandpa did in his military career was designed to prepare him for full-scale nuclear war.

He was stationed at Davis Monthan in Tucson until 1980 when he was deployed to Turkey to support anticommunism in the Middle East. For the safety of my mom and grandma he went alone, leaving his family for a year. Turkey was a dangerous country, with bombings and violence, but the Americans were there to support the Turks against the USSR. It took an amazing amount of courage to leave everything behind in order to protect the world from the Soviet threat, but like all veterans, he sacrificed because of his love for our country.

My grandpa said one of the toughest parts was the effect on his family. The school my mom went to on base was kept on alert, just like the soldiers. They had nuclear drills just like we have fire drills today. The windows of her elementary school had heavy drapes as protection against nuclear fallout, and they practiced drills, hiding under desks with the drapes shut tight.My grandpa said that serving in the Cold War was difficult in spite of not being a “hot war.” A majority of his time was spent knowing there was a real nuclear threat, tensions rising constantly, but he had to stay strong to take care of his family. Those in the military waited anxiously to see if the USSR would act, if a missile was headed their way or global war was approaching. It was a stressful time watching and waiting to see what happened.

Fortunately, all the preparation for a catastrophic war was for a war that never happened. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved. The Cold War had ended. However, in some ways the Cold War and its veterans have been lost to recent memory. There was no parade for the soldiers when the war ended. There is no Cold War medal for the veterans. They are the silent heroes of a terrifying era in American history. The debt of gratitude we owe them for their sacrifices is indescribable. They are the heroes who stood ready at the watch, preventing the war that never happened.


Please join us for the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, November 11 to honor our Cold War heroes and all our veterans. Our three Essay Contest winners will be riding on the Hall of Flame fire truck! For more info about the parade, click HERE.

2017-11-03T18:46:18-07:00