The 13th Annual Heroes Patriotic Luncheon, hosted by the Veterans Medical Leadership Council, honored veterans and military personnel for their dedicated service on Nov. 6 at the Arizona Biltmore. More than 500 guests gathered to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served and are currently serving the country from all five branches of the military.
Dr. Alexander White, Korean War veteran and Holocaust survivor, shared his story as the keynote speaker for the luncheon. During WWII, White’s confinement included working as a glazier at Oskar Schindler’s factory, and after liberation, he attended medical school at the University of Munich, completing his residency work at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago.
Special recognition was given to luncheon honorees: John Cooper, US Army Air Corps, WWII; Thomas Rogers, US Navy, Korea; William Beaudoin, US Marine Corps, Vietnam; Rachel Gutierrez, US Army, OIF; and Patricia Hernandez, US Marine Corps, OEF.
Jeff Guldner, a U.S. Navy Surface Warfare veteran, was the honorary chair for the event. He is the senior vice president of public policy for Arizona Public Service. The Cowgirls Historical Foundation sold raffle tickets for three prize packages – a sports package that included Coyotes tickets, a signed Cardinals football and an American Airlines travel voucher; a Denver travel package that included accommodations and an American Airlines travel voucher; and the Americana package, which featured a full-size handmade quilt.
The VMLC is a nonprofit organization founded in 1999 and dedicated to “honoring and serving our military heroes.” Its mission is to help ensure quality medical and mental health care to Maricopa County veterans, encourage initiatives that honor veterans’ contributions and help veterans in need. Through its Returning Warrior program, it works closely with the VA Medical Center caseworkers to assist veterans going through tough times by providing support not provided by the federal and state governments. This financial assistance is for rent, utilities, vehicle repair, food, clothing and other essentials.
PHOTOS BY BILL PEDENE