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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

HOW YOU CAN HELP ON VETERANS DAY (AND THE REST OF THE YEAR)

Veterans are naturally on our minds at this time of year, particularly with the annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade right around the corner.

If you have it in your heart to help and honor our veterans, now or at any time of the year, there are many ways you can do that.

Parade Volunteer Coordinator Brian Ishmael

The Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade (PhoenixVeteransDayParade.org) is scheduled for Saturday, November 11, from 11 a.m. until approximately 1 p.m. in downtown Phoenix. The entire operation relies solely on volunteers and is a great way to honor veterans. This year leading the volunteer effort is the University of Phoenix.  Volunteer Coordinator Brian Ishmael, who serves as Senior Director of Military and Veterans Affairs at University of Phoenix, has been busy managing and developing position descriptions, recruiting volunteers from various organizations and businesses and attending parade team meetings in person.  The parade will need about 300 volunteers to assist in several functions, so he’s asked his colleague Jessica Hutson to help.  Jessica is busy gathering names, emails and phone numbers of volunteers to fill the slots.  If you’re just now seeing this and want to help, it’s not too late to reach out to her; just email jessica.hutson@phoenix.edu.

Another way to help is by volunteering with or donating to Honoring America’s’s Veterans (HAV), the organization presenting the annual Phoenix Veterans Day Parade. The HAV was formed to help Arizona’s veterans heal and reintegrate through recognition events and other programs that support the mission.

Of course, you can always say “thank you.” It is simple but makes an impact. Many veterans never heard those words. If you know a veteran or see someone in a military uniform, express your gratitude.  It may make his or her day – and yours.

Here are some other ways you could help a veteran:

  • Offer your home repair skills to a veteran or military family in need.
  • Volunteer your financial, legal, or career expertise via MilServe.
  • Deliver a meal or care packages to veterans – or donate clothing, household items, vehicles and much-needed funs – through certified organizations such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).
  • Help a veteran tell their story through a project such as the Veteran’s History Project. (You can download a VHP field kit from the Library of Congress website.)
  • Volunteers with an organization that provides therapy dogs to veterans, such as Canine Companions for Independence.
  • Support the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), which provides free transportation to men and women unable to travel to VA medical facilities on their own.
  • Send a letter or care package through Operation Gratitude, which serves both current military members as well as veterans. It has a letter-writing campaign encouraging everyone to write handwritten letters of gratitude to veterans.
  • The Honor Flight Network helps veterans of the “greatest generation” make a free pilgrimage to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington. You can volunteer to escort these men and women on the flight. The program also helps terminally ill veterans who served in any conflict visit memorials to those wars in Washington as well.
  • Hire a veteran! Several organizations match employers with qualified veterans. The S. Department of Labor’s website is one example, and the nonprofit Hire Heroes USA offers opportunities for people to donate, volunteer or host a fundraiser.

Did you know that an estimated 40,000 veterans go homeless on any given night in the U.S.? That is according to a report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and that number does not include the 1.4 million or so vets who are at risk of homelessness, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

You can help those heroes get back on their feet by volunteering, donating or even hiring a veteran. Sign up through the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service page. Shelters are always in need of personal care items and clothing. To locate a service organization near you, refer to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ website, which provides an interactive map of local shelters and community centers. You can also call 1-800-VET-HELP. (You can refer to websites like Charity Watch and Charity Navigator for ratings on organizations’ contributions and expenses.)


If you are a veteran in need of help or if you are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless – contact either the VA medical center or Community Resource and Referral Center. You can also call 1-877-4AID-VET (1-877-424-3838).

2017-11-03T18:20:51-07:00

“M*A*S*H” TV Star Loretta Swit to serve as Celebrity Grand Marshal for Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade on Sat. Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.

Who: Loretta Swit, TV Star, Big Screen Star, Broadway Star
What: To serve as Celebrity Grand Marshal in Phoenix Veterans Day Parade
When: Saturday, November 11th at 11 a.m.
Place: Parade staging, NE Corner of Montebello and Central

Few actresses can capture the imagination of generations of audiences with the certainty and charm of Loretta Swit. As quick-witted, impassioned Major Margaret Houlihan of television’s most honored series, “M*A*S*H,” Swit became an American icon and, with its popularity now in worldwide syndication, new fans continue to enjoy her lavish portrayal of the sensuous, sensitive, comedic Major Houlihan.

She is so moved by the military and veterans she supports them to this day and recently narrated the film “Never the Same: The Prisoner of War Experience,” in support of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor Memorial Society.

Swit has been honored with such recognition as the People’s Choice Award, The Genie Award, The Silver Satellite Award, The Jean Golden Halo Award, the Pacific Broadcasters Award, two Emmy Awards, 10 Emmy nominations and eight nominations for the Golden Globe Award.

Her television career boasts over 25 movies, including the original “Cagney and Lacey,” in which she created the role of Chris Cagney, with contractual obligations to “M*A *S*H” preventing her from shooting the series. Other memorable TV films are “Games Mother Never Taught You,” “Hell Hath No Fury,” “The Kid from Nowhere,” “Mirror, Mirror,” “The Execution,” “Dreams of Gold,” “Valentine” and “A Killer Among Friends.”

Most recently on the stage, she was “Eleanor Roosevelt” in sellout runs in Los Angeles and Chicago. A highlight was meeting Eleanor’s granddaughter at a Meet and Greet. This show and “Me and Jezebel” continue to appear on her calendar.

Her wildlife series, “Those Incredible Animals,” was shown twice weekly on the Discovery Channel for an amazing five-year run, and later viewed on Animal Planet airing in over 30 countries. Ms. Swit is as impassioned about animals as she is the theatre and is regarded as a leader in the Humane Environment. The proceeds from her recent book, “SWITHEART” (www.switheart.com) support the Animal Alliance Foundation, ending cruelty for all animals and she has a second book in the works. She has been named Woman of the Year by both the Animal Protection Institute and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

2017-11-01T22:50:56-07:00

Cold War Veterans Focus of the 2017 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade

Parade Celebrates 21 Years with Theme “Silent Sacrifice”

Glowing with tributes to our nation’s true heroes, our veterans, the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade will once again be presented by Honoring America’s’s Veterans (HAV).

Time: LIVE Shots available from 5:30 to 9 a.m.

Time: Parade start 11 a.m., open to media

Date: Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017

Place: Central and Montebello, south on Central, east on Camelback, and south on 7th Street to Indian School Road

This year’s parade theme is “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.” The parade has nearly 100 entries, and this year will have a special float with nearly 20 Cold War Veterans riding on it. The parade will also feature:

  • 14 Floats
  • 12 Marching Units
  • 7 Color Guards
  • 8 novelty units
  • 5 bands
  • Four large helium balloons, including Uncle Sam, the Bald Eagle, the Purple Heart and – new this year – the military service and HAV balloon.
  • Dozens of military vehicles
  • We’ll also have animal entries, and much, much more.

MEDIA PLEASE NOTE: Live shot availability will begin at 5:30 a.m. Several entries will be available throughout the morning, including:

  • Arizona Public Service Float
  • Department of Corrections Float
  • POW/MIA/KIA Honor Guard
  • Arizona Twirlers
  • Specialty vehicles

Now in its 21st year, the parade is one of the premier Veterans Day events in the nation, with tens of thousands of spectators. Several streets will be closed to make way for the Parade.

“I’ve been working with the parade team for five years now, and it’s still amazing to me to see how it helps our veterans heal. The men and women who serve in our military face many unique challenges, and when they return they are a source of pride for us. We can never repay them for their service and sacrifice, so having an event, like this, shows the gratitude we have as a community for them. That in turn helps us to honor them and that’s why Honoring America’s’s Veterans puts on this event,” said Aaron Dudney, HAV president.

Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit

This year’s Parade Grand Marshals include:

  • Celebrity Grand Marshal Loretta Swit (Emmy Award-winning actress best known for “M*A*S*H,” animal activist, artist, veteran supporter)
  • Harold Bergbower, World War II (former Prisoner of War)
  • Melvin Brody, Korean War
  • Larry Leighton, Vietnam War (Purple Heart recipient)
  • Bernard O’Keefe, Cold War (8-time recipient of Meritorious Service Medal)
  • John Scott, Desert Storm (Retired Major General, Bronze Star recipient)
  • Raul Sanchez, Operation Enduring Freedom
  • Richard Arnold, Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Carol Culbertson, Veteran Community
  • Alan Powell “AP,” HeroZona
  • Craig Opel, Business Community
  • Katie Schaaf, Arizona Pageant Queen

The parade will also feature the three Durant’s essay winners, who will ride in the “Hall of Flame” fire truck:

  • 1st place: Ethan Brown, 11th grade, Seton Catholic Preparatory High School
  • 2nd place: Ruby Price, 11th grade, Shadow Ridge High School
  • 3rd place: Craig Zeigler, 12th grade, Sunrise Mountain High School

Each writer shared a different perspective for this year’s theme “SILENT SACRIFICE: Honoring Our Cold War Veterans.”

For the fifth year in a row Durant’s fine dining restaurant in Phoenix has provided cash awards for the essay contest winners: $500 for first place, $250 for second place and $100 for third place. In addition, the teacher for each of the students will receive a $150 gift card to use in his or her classroom.

The University of Phoenix and TriWest Healthcare Alliance hold the top spots for sponsorship of this event and have veteran and civilian employees in the parade.

The Stearman Group – World War II bi-planes led by Roger Parrish and Fred Gorrell – followed by Joe Sottile, Kurt Gearhart and Billie Walker, will once again officially start the parade with their flyover.

2017-11-01T22:45:46-07:00