Arizona Post ‘Stands Up’ for Veterans

Local community rallies to support veterans before they're in distress

An Arizona Post has partnered with its city for the first time to be proactive in assisting veterans.

Glendale, Ariz., Mayor Jerry Weiers asked Post 1433 in his city to assist with the fourth “Stand Up for Veterans” event.

Commander Mike Pearson, who served with the Army in Korea from 1989-90 and during the Persian Gulf War, said Stand Up For Veterans is “a counter-stance to Stand Down for Veterans,” which assists homeless veterans.

“[Mayor Weiers] had a concept that we should try to reach out to veterans before they were in complete distress,” Pearson said.

While the ‘stand down’ concept is “great,” Glendale’s event is “more like an early-entry diversion concept,” according to Pearson.

The Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles and a judge who adjudicated lower-level offenses were present at the event last month. Additionally, VA service officers were on-site and a job fair was held.

Blue Star Mothers, Disabled American Veterans, and Combat Dolls, a non-profit organization that works to benefit active-duty military as well as veterans, also were present.

Pearson said the Post was “a caretaker of the funds,” and Post Senior Vice Commander Ed Besta, who spent more than 20 years in the Air Force, was involved at the city council level as planning committee chairman. Post Quartermaster Laudric Baskin and Besta were “99.99% of the effort from the Post level,” according to Pearson.

Pearson said 325 veterans and 126 dependent family members or survivors attended the event.

Pearson said that during the event he distributed Buddy Poppies and spoke with about a dozen prospective members.

Photo caption: Members of Post 1433 in Glendale, Ariz., assist the city with its Stand Up for Veterans event on Sept. 24, providing resources to veterans. More than 300 veterans and 126 dependent family members or survivors attended the event. Photo courtesy of Mike Pearson

By Kari Williams, editorial associate, VFW magazine