O’odham Veterans Celebration Returns
October 21, 2022
The annual O’odham Veterans Celebration (OVC) was held at the Sacaton Fairgrounds Oct. 15, providing supplies including dry foods and canned goods, toiletries, sanitation supplies, boots and backpacks to veterans.
The event started in 2010 and is typically held in September at one of the District’s Service Centers in the Community.
“Since we had this pandemic for the last three years, we were running out of time,” said Douglas Juan, chairman of the OVC, “so we already missed our usual date and so we had to push it back about a month.”
Last year due to COVID-19, OVC held a drive-thru at the Boys and Girls Club, Gila River-Sacaton Branch.
However, Tribal Recreation approved a full in-person event this year at the fairgrounds because it provided more open space for attendees.
Veterans and Family Services, Gila River Health Care’s Behavioral Health Services and the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services were on site, as well as a DJ.
Juan said if any items were left after the event, they’d hang onto them in case someone needed anything later. He also shared that OVC is working with GRIC leadership to secure a place for a possible food pantry for veterans and families in need.
In the past, OVC has assisted with other stand-down events for White Mountain Apache Tribe, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation, and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
Juan says they are trying to provide for veterans that need that little extra help.
“It’s not much, but we give what we can,” he said. “And the information we give them, hopefully it will help them and what they’re looking for.”
OVC thanked GRIC leadership and all the departments that assisted them and helped make the event possible.
Next year, they hope to host the celebration at the District 4 Multipurpose Building.