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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 24, 2016

4/16/2013 1:03:00 PM
Letter: Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day a huge success


A year ago, following the first annual Verde Valley Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, the city of Cottonwood volunteered to host the second annual event. Cottonwood Mayor, Diane Joens, City Manager, Doug Bartosh, and a handful of committee members from the first annual event began planning. Early on, we made the decision to attempt to bring one of the traveling Vietnam Memorial Walls to the valley, as part of event. Once we obtained funding for the down-payment, we contracted with American Veterans Traveling Tribute to have the Wall on display from 28-31 March, 2013.

Having accomplished that, we began diagramming logistics requirements, further funding avenues, and, most of all, recruiting more volunteers to aid in the ever-increasing workload. Our committee roster grew rapidly, peaking at over 40 veterans and non-veterans. One would think that, with a committee this size, we would produce another Edsel. Instead, this group of determined, goal-oriented individual, including several city employees, produced a Rolls Royce.

The city can be, as am I, justly proud of what our citizens have done to make this event a success.

I wish to extend my sincerest, heart-felt thanks to these committee members for their many, many hours earnestly given to the project; to the volunteers who helped assemble and disassemble the Wall, pulled hours of security at the Wall, worked hours assisting visitors to the Wall, counseled and informed visitors, and performed ceremonies at the Wall: to the Honor Guards who performed flag services: to the hundreds of motorcyclists who participated in the escort and the Ride from Sedona through the cities to Cottonwood; and to the many businesses and individuals who contributed monetarily or materially to this valley effort.

Special thanks to city employee Hezekiah Allen and intern Leah Genovese for their work in planning the celebration at Kid’s Park, and Hezekiah also, for scheduling the hundreds of elementary, middle, and high school students’ visits to the Wall; to city employee Morgan Scott, who managed the logistics of getting the Wall in place; to the Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District for their great support for the Wall event; and, finally, to the cities of Cottonwood and Sedona for their continual support for Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.

Ron Luce

Chairman of Verde Valley Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Met a Hero of the war.Medal of Honor recipient
12 Purple Hearts,two Silver Stars,saved 16 warriors.What a guy.
Lives in the valley.His name is JD (James Derke)He should be honored next year.Bet he doesn't show

Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Article comment by: Mav Rick

Semper Fi and thanks to ALL involved.

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