Honoring Veterans in GRIC: A Commemoration of Service
Gila River Indian News
In the heart of the Gila River Indian Community, a spirit of gratitude and respect permeates the air each Veterans Day. This year’s commemoration was marked by two significant events - an uplifting Veterans Day luncheon on Nov. 9, hosted by the Veteran and Family Services Office (VFSO), as well as the District 1 Veterans Day Celebration on Nov. 11, bringing the Community together to honor and express their gratitude to those who have served in the military.
“I want to say thank you for the invitation and it’s good to be around other veterans,” said Ramon Robles, Marine Corps veteran at the Veterans Day Luncheon, held at the District 3 Multipurpose Building. The gathering showcased an unwavering support for veterans by VFSO.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis attended the event by personally delivering challenge coins to the veterans. Lunch was distributed by Dewskies Frybread, featuring the assistance of Blackwater Community School’s Color guard, and over 20 raffle prizes, ranging from gadgets to gift certificates.
During the luncheon, veterans shared their experiences in the military. Their stories ranged from moments of camaraderie and pride to the challenges they faced while serving. Veterans remarked about their family history in the military and how the support system for veterans was of great help throughout their time of service.
As Veterans Day transitioned into a more extended celebration on Nov. 18, the Gila River Indian Community came together once again, this time in a larger and festive atmosphere. The celebration paid tribute to veterans through various activities, including a walk/run, a posting of colors, food, kickball/corn hole/horseshoe tournaments and a performance by 2023-2024 Miss Gila River, Mavis Thomas.
“We put on this program to celebrate the veterans, it’s nothing to be somber about, it’s just supporting the veterans of Gila River and District 1,” said Henry Pino, U.S. Army Veteran from District 1 and coordinator of the District 1 Veterans Day Celebration.
Gary Anderson, U.S. Army Veteran from District 3, expressed his gratitude of the celebration and the impacts that these celebratory events remind veterans that their sacrifices are not forgotten.
The Gila River Indian Community’s commitment to honoring its veterans extends beyond these annual events. The Community actively engages in initiatives to support veterans in their transitions to civilian life, providing resources for education, healthcare, and employment opportunities.
The Gila River Indian Community stood united, expressing gratitude not just in words but through actions that reinforce the bond between the Community and its veterans. The stories shared by these courageous individuals serve as a reminder that Veterans Day is not only about recognizing the past but also shaping a future where the sacrifices of the military are remembered and honored.