This past year with the global pandemic, we were faced with uncertainty on several fronts: When will the economy get back to normal? When will our lives get back to normal? What is the new normal? For many of us, things started to resume back to normal in the early part of the summer only to hear about new variants of the coronavirus, the delta and lambda variants. What impact will these variants have on our day-to-day lives? Our theme for our VMLC Patriotic Heroes Luncheon this year is “Resiliency” and how Veterans have a unique way making the best out of the situation and being resilient. 

Veterans have been forced to be resilient throughout their time in the military from the minute they stepped off the bus at Camp Lejeune, to the day they decided to transition back to the civilian world. And even us old, retired military guys and gals decided at some point to return to the civilian world. 

Our keynote speaker certainly is living a resilient life. Corporal Matthew Bradford, USMC (ret) was severely injured after stepping on an Improved Explosive Device during his tour in Iraq. He lost both legs and his eyesight. He doesn’t let these injuries define who he is or what he can do. He is living a resilient life taking on each new challenge. He is going to share his story of resiliency with us during our luncheon on November 10th.

The Veterans Medical Leadership Council helps Veterans that find themselves “on the verge”: on the verge of losing their housing, of becoming financially ruined, and in extreme cases on the verge of suicide. The VMLC quickly steps in when federal and state governments are not able to assist. This assistance often includes housing, transportation, and utilities.  Throughout the years we have donated over $3M to help Arizona Veterans with their uncertainty allowing them to be resilient in the face of their challenges.
Over the past 18 months we provided COVID Relief to Navajo and Hopi Veterans including Personal Protective Equipment and Water Storage. We also recently entered a partnership with the Boulder Crest Foundation to help returning warriors with their Post-Traumatic Stress – we will sponsor a class of all Maricopa County Veterans later in November 2021.
There is some uncertainty surrounding what happens when the stimulus packages run out. Will there be more veterans in need of our services? How long will the pandemic continue? Will a booster vaccine be required? It is certainly a time of “learning as you go”. Veterans are resilient and adapt to the many changes. Marines have been known to use the term “Semper Gumby” when talking about their ability to be flexible and resilient. Given the uncertainty, it is a time for resiliency.

Sponsors and Donors with the action of VMLC volunteers have helped many Veterans “See the Light at the End of the Tunnel.” Feel proud that in some way you can be part/or have been part of this worthy group.

Thank You.    

Not only does Joel Barthelemy have a business world view, CEO and founder of GlobalMed, he has slipped easily into the VMLC world of helping veterans with a Hand Up.
Joel supported the Veterans Medical Leadership Council when in 2019 our world was normal, the Heroes Patriotic Luncheon was successful. In 2020 Covid entered into the world of VMLC luncheons. Joel’s Marine Corps values came into play, “adapt and overcome.” Thus a virtual luncheon was developed thru untested waters with a success rate beyond belief.  
This year Joel and GlobalMed will be supporting us for our November 10, 2021 Heroes Patriotic Luncheon, in changing times, a projected success. Three times a winner for our Presenting Sponsor!
COO of MD Helicopters, Inc. Mesa, Chris Jaran will serve as Honorary Chairman of the 19th Veterans Medical Leadership Council Heroes Patriot Luncheon on November 10th.
Yes, with the help of Chris we have reached new heights in our support of veterans. The VMLC project to help veterans and their families on the northern Arizona reservations is usually by land. Chris made it possible for air support to
be provided by MD Helicopters.
Santa arrived for “Christmas in June” by air. Thank You Chris and welcome to the resilient world of helping and honoring our military and veteran communities with VMLC.

With a look through the VMLC Heroes Luncheon archives the names Blue Cross & Blue Shield and BG Tom Browning pop up for their exemplary community & VMLC support.

This year the VMLC is putting the two together by selecting BC & BS for the Tom Browning Community Heroes Award.
The most asked three questions for veterans and veteran Supporters in turn were asked of BC&BS. The most enlightening answers needed no additional comments. In the words of the Foundation Operations and Engagement team are as
Your BC&BS of AZ veteran outreach is truly incredible. Why
are you interested in helping veterans?

Serving those who have served is a priority for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. Not only do we honor the men and women who have contributed to the preservation and security of our country, but these heroes are also our neighbors and coworkers, we have focused programs that are vital to the healthcare
community, veterans and their caregivers.
Do you have many veteran employees?

75 of our co-workers have identified that they’re veterans as of
August 9, 2021.
Tell us about at least one health and wellness focus for veterans.

Now more than ever, mental health matters. Blue Cross Blue Shield of AZ, through our Mobilize AZ public health initiative, is taking action to support teens, teachers, veterans, service members, mental health providers and the community. Through over $1 million in grant funding, Mobilize AZ has bolstered the reach of organizations that connect people to mental health support and resources. As one example, we joined forces with the UofA Center for Rural Health, which partners with the Arizona Coalition for Military families, to expand the Be Connected veteran support program in rural southern Arizona counties (Cochise, La Paz, Pinal, Gila and Santa Cruz). In Cochise county alone, veterans are 21.6% more likely than the general population to die by suicide. Overall,
41% of AZ veterans report thoughts of suicide. Be Connected works with more than 500,000 service members, veterans and their families,
providing resources and crisis intervention to reduce deaths by suicide.


George Ertel, a founding member of VMLC is the keeper of statistics on the Returning Warrior Program. When it is determined that help is needed, by a VA social worker, the VMLC takes action.
Who benefits from this program you ask: In addition to experiencing hardship due to the 2020 pandemic, Phoenix veteran Milo H. also went through personal
hardships that deterred him from being able to continue to reside in his current apartment. But without the help of VMLC Charities, RW program, Milo would not have been able to maintain his housing and his life.
Prior to receiving help from the RW program of VMLC Charities, local veteran Derek G. was “robbing Peter to pay Paul” time and time again. He was living month-to-month. He could not get ahead and was always concerned about falling behind. Derek explained that this assistance has, as he says, “taken a huge weight off my shoulders.”
VMLC Charities began its Returning Warrior Program in 2009 to take care of the emergency financial needs of veterans enrolled in the Phoenix VA. Using funds raised from public donations and grants. Returning Warriors pays outstanding bills for housing, transportation and utilities in amounts up to $3000. per veteran. Since January 2020, over 200 veterans have been served by the program.
Postscript: This worthy program goes on today. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS, PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.
Veteran had a stroke a while back and was unable to pay his child support. Veteran has since recovered and was trying to resume payments when his income was reduced unexpectedly by half. Vet is working on having his child support be adjusted to his income level. Vet will

Financial freedom is extremely liberating. The funding I got from VMLC provided so much relief from worry and allowed me to think about money differently. I have since sat down and examined my finances in a different way because I never want to ask for that kind of assistance again. I feel like I can breathe and I have outlined my goals for financial stability moving forward. Thank you so much for the assistance.
Please join us Wednesday November 10th at 10:45am MST
For more information about this year's luncheon
Send check to:
VMLC Charities, 16930 E. Palisades Blvd., #103-A, Fountain Hill, AZ 85268