The women of Sedona India served brunch with veterans during the group’s fourth collaboration with the Veterans History Project on Friday, May 12 at the Sedona Public Library.
“They love to be remembered, respected and recognized,” said Sedona Kind member Joan McKinley. “They thank us, but it should be the other way around, because making an egg casserole is not like leaving your family and risking your life to go abroad. This is all we can do and just say thank you.”
The meal was accompanied by a screening of the short documentary Wings of Silver: The Vi Cowden Story.
The film follows 93-year-old Vi Cowden from her childhood learning to fly a biplane in the Black Hills of South Dakota to her experiences as a US Army Air Corps pilot during World War II. is. Cowden was one of the pioneering women who flew military aircraft from the factory to her USAAC.
At the event, Joyce Geevers presented two Quilts of Courage to Kevin Gertz and Brandon McKechnie, Regional Veterans of the Arizona Department of Economic Security.
The Kilt of Valor is a unique quilt awarded to veterans involved in war on dangerous missions.
Jeivals said he joined the program after a personal tragedy in 2011, and that making these quilts helped him feel a sense of loss.
“I just finished and I’m going to award my 60th quilt today, but I’ve probably awarded over 75 quilts,” Jeebals said.
McKechnie enlisted in the Navy in 2006 and then joined the United States Marine Corps. He was sent on two expeditions to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I’m an Air Force veteran. I enlisted in 2000 and retired in 2020,” Gertz said. “When I was in the Air Force, I worked in the oil and lubricants business. was a non-commissioned officer. [non-commissioned officer] academy instructor. “
They said events like breakfast meetings are important for networking with veterans and letting them know what employment services are available.
Gertz said the biggest challenge in educating veterans is covering Yavapai County, which is as large as the entire state of Massachusetts. Commuting to work in the area can be a problem, especially for veterans who already have limited resources.
“We had a homeless veterinarian come to our Cottonwood store,” Gertz said. “He was homeless for years and said, ‘I need a job, a place to live, and I need cash assistance.’ I was able to do.
With a background in the construction industry. But just to get to work, he would walk two miles to the job site and two miles at the end of the day. He lives in Camp Verde and walks to Cottonwood on weekends to buy his essentials. And we said, What if you could buy him a bicycle? 』
Recalling from his experience in the Air Force that abandoned bicycles are common on bases, Gertz asked the dormitory management team at Luke Air Force Base in Maricopa County to redistribute abandoned bicycles. Gertz recently was able to provide seven bicycles to local veterans in need for a $50 renovation fee.
“It’s great to be able to give back to people and it feels great to know you’re giving someone a chance and in fact I’m planning to go back in June for another chance.” [bicycles]said Gertz.
Libraries also play an important role for veterans, and the Arizona DES can help anyone with resumes and job searches, McKinney said.
“One of the big things we’re working on at our Flagstaff office is getting rid of libraries like Tuba City and Page,” McKinney said. “Every really rural area of Arizona has a library. We teach librarians how to do that, and if they get overwhelmed, they know our direct number so they can talk to them on the phone. ”
The next regular meeting for the Veterans History Project “Coffee by Veterans” program will be held on Friday, June 9 at 10:00 am in the Si Birch Community Room of the Sedona Public Library.