The National Salute to Veteran’s Patient Program was held Feb. 10-16 this year. Several dignitaries including Davis-Monthan Air Force Base wing leadership visited The Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, Feb. 12, giving thanks and respect to those who served in the United States military.
The National Salute to Veteran’s is held during the week of Valentine’s Day. It began in 1978 and has become a tradition where volunteers have the opportunity to visit veterans and thank them for their service.
This year the VA had a total of 150 special guest volunteers, which included 18 military members from around the Tucson area.
Both Col. Kevin Blanchard, 355th Fighter Wing commander and Chief Master Sgt. Dawna Cnota, 355th Fighter Wing command chief master sergeant spent their time speaking with veterans of several generations about their time served in the military, as well as handing out Valentines made by children from across the United States.
“We wanted to come out to thank each and every one of our veterans for serving in our military,” said Col. Blanchard. “There’s nothing more that we would like to be doing right now.”
During the week, several events are held by a variety of veteran service organizations and volunteers. The events range from bingo to going on a variety of trips.
“We have daily events and programs held by a variety of veteran service organizations in our community living center here at the VA,” said Pepe Mendoza, Southern Arizona Veterans Affair Health Care System spokesperson. “We also have a lot of volunteers in our community and retirement centers that come out and bring clothing items for the homeless as well. So we’ll have clothing and food items for the homeless.”
This is D-M’s 35th year participating in National Salute to Veterans events in the Tucson area.