June 28, 2012

5 Questions with Don Foltz

Yuma County Chamber of Commerce Committee Chairman

1.  What is the Yuma Military Affairs Committee and why was it established?

The Military Affairs Committee was established many years ago and is made up of community organizations and businesses as well as veteran and veteran support groups.  It was long ago discovered that support for our veterans and military require support outside of the normal chain of command.  Some of Yuma’s civic leaders, many of them former or retired military saw the need to further support our military partners at the Yuma Proving Ground and the Marine Corps Air Station. They chartered the MAC as a standing committee of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce.


2.  Who benefits from the committee’s services and how can someone join if interested?

All members benefit from the efforts of the committee.  Made up totally by volunteers, our goal is to network with all members to further their aims and goals of supporting our military and veterans.  We have many active database of members and regularly distribute flyers and information from members and make it available to all members.  We also volunteer and assist members in their activities and events.  Some examples are the holiday meals sponsored by Crossroads Mission, Holiday food baskets by the Officers’ Spouses Club at MCAS, American Legion holiday parties for children as well as hosting active duty military families in our homes during holidays. The entire community benefits from committee member events on Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day and the numerous held throughout the community.  Also noteworthy are the “honorary” plaques placed in the Yuma Armed Forces Park for any local active-duty service member who has lost their life in service to their country.


3.  As the director, what are the current top priorities for the committee and how does this impact both MCAS Yuma and U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground?

The immediate top priority is the continued support and upkeep of the Yuma Armed Forces Park which the committee raised funds for and after a eight years of toil finally dedicated the park and returned it to the City of Yuma.  As the only park of its kind in Arizona, it honors the service of our military and veterans whether they are active duty, retired or prior service members of the US Armed Forces or Merchant Marines.  The park was built with contributions and donations.  Over $250,000 was raised and the park was valued at over $3,000,000 when it was dedicated.  The park was the subject of a Proclamation by the Governor of Arizona.   Our secondary priority is to form partnerships with units assigned to YPG and MCAS.  These partnerships will add to fostering the close kinship the community has with our active duty military and their families.  Some organizations have already hosted units with barbeques and picnics for units returning from overseas assignments and units temporarily assigned here as in WTI. Additionally, every year the MAC recognizes the YPG Soldier and NCO of the Year as well as the MCAS Yuma Marine and NCO of the Year at the annual Independence Day Flag Raising ceremony that is held at the Armed Forces Park at 7:30 am on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.  This year’s guest speaker is Colonel Kuckuk, Commanding Officer of MCAS Yuma.


4.  Does the group hold monthly meetings? 

We hold monthly meetings the last Wednesday of every month from 7-8 am at the American Legion Post #19, 2575 S. Virginia Drive.  Anyone may attend that is interested in our aims and goals of supporting our military community.


5.  How does this military affairs committee reach out to the public?  

Very recently committee members nominated veterans to be enshrined into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame (AVHOF.org).  This Hall of Fame honors the contributions veterans have made since leaving military service.  Awards are made every October in Phoenix. Our efforts at outreach are mainly through word-of-mouth and articles / coverage of events that appear in the local media.  Presently we are working at standing up a website that will make our communication efforts much easier and more widespread. For more information contact: Don Foltz, Committee Chair 928-580-6008 or Yuma County Chamber of Commerce, 180 W. 1st Street, 928-782-2567

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