Please join us in celebrating our 88 banner recipients for 2024. With stories across decades of service and all branches of the military, we are honored to share their stories with you. This program is the smallest token of our gratitude for the sacrifice our active service members or retired veterans provide to protect the freedoms we hold dear. Please feel free to explore all of the banners with a walking tour and share some pictures online for those that could not join us. When you explore the banners in Downtown Mesa, feel free to use the hashtag #MesaVeterans and we’ll share your post.

2024 Hometown Heroes Banner Map

(Please search by last name by clicking on a letter range below)

A-C  |  D-G  |  H-L  |  M-Q  |  R-T  | U-Z


A-C  [Top]

Richard Adams Sr.

Richard Adams Sr. served in WW2 and Korea.

Richard saw much combat, but never spoke about it.

He is a soldier through and through.

Lionel Allen

Sergeant Lionel Allen served in the U.S. Marines from 2000 to 2009. During his service, Lionel completed two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

Lionel is currently a mentor for the Focus Marines Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves warriors from all branches in many stages of transition and recovery through a 7-day workshop. Participants are positively supported and coached through everyday life skills as well as guided through healing of trauma.

Paul Asp

MSgt Asp entered active duty in July of 2000.

Upon completion of Basic Military Training, he attended Aircraft Electrical and Environmental Systems Apprentice School, Sheppard AFB, Texas.

He was later assigned to the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron, Offutt AFB, Nebraska. MSgt Asp was accepted to retrain into the Paralegal career field and attended the Paralegal Apprentice Course in July of 2006, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.

Since entering the JAG Corps MSgt Asp has been stationed at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; RAF Mildenhall, United Kingdom; Shaw AFB, South Carolina; Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea; and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

He has served in a variety of positions including Claims, Civil Law, and Military Justice Paralegal, as well as NCOIC of Civil Law and Military Justice.

Prior to his current position MSgt Asp served as the Command Law Office Manager, HQ Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.

Rod Baarstad

Sergeant Baarstad completed basic training at Ft Jackson, medical training at Ft Sam Houston, and was stationed on Giebelstadt Army Airfield in Germany. He was then stationed for 2 years on Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, TX.

Rod was an Army Medic. He flew on medivac missions (military and civilian).

Sergeant Baarstad is always wanting to make a difference.

He grew up in Mesa, AZ attending Booker T. Washington Elementary, Rhodes Jr. High, a graduate of Mesa High School.

He currently resides in Mesa, AZ and has for many years.

Aaron Barredo

Aaron was stationed in San Diego, California. He was deployed in 2005 onboard USS Milius to western Pacific.

Barredo was also deployed boot on ground in Baghdad, Iraq from 2006-2007.

Kathryn Bates

SSGT Kathryn Bates served two tours in Italy. She supported operations against Libya. While serving at Holloman AFB, NM, SSGT Bates supported Space Shuttle operations when the shuttle landed at White Sands.

Marguerite Bocquin

Staff Sergeant Marguerite Bocquin worked as a clerk typist in the WAC stationed in Marana, Arizona. She made sure our troops were paid. Marguerite met her future husband on a bus from Marana from Phoenix. He was in glider pilot training at Marana. They married and she spent the rest of her military career supporting him in 20 years of service to our country in the Air Force.

Harold “Joe” Briggs

Sergeant E5 Harold “Joe” Briggs was a combat Vietnam veteran. He passed away in 2021 from agent orange service-related issues. He was a lifetime member VVA, DAV, American Legion. Sergeant Briggs served the community as a volunteer with the health department as an ambassador, volunteer as a member of CERT community emergency response team, and CART child abduction response team. He volunteered for many veterans related activities along with the United Service Organization (USO).

Bradley Burgraff

Colonel Bradley Burgraff was commissioned through ROTC in 1967. He was an infantry platoon leader and company commander in Vietnam from June 1968 to June 1969. Colonel Burgraff was awarded the purple heart and bronze star. He returned to USA and was discharged. Colonel Burgraff was then called back to inactive reserve service in 1970. He stayed in reserves and national guard until 1991, where he retired as a Colonel.

Matthew Burton

Sergeant Matthew Burton was an Army Combat Medic, serving with the 571st MP Company out of Ft Lewis, Washington.
He deployed to Afghanistan OEF 2012 to 2013.
Sergeant Burton received the Combat Medic Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Army Good Conduct, Army Oversea Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, 2 Commendation Ribbons, Global War on Terrorism, 2 Army Achievement Ribbons, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Ribbon,
International Securities Assistant Force, and
Nato Ribbon.

Michael Butler

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who both served in the US Navy, E-8 Michael Butler joined the miliary after high school. As an Aviation Machinist Mate and Rescue Swimmer, he performed engine, transmission, and fuel cell maintenance on H-60 helicopters and the E-2 Hawkeye. Butler’s duty locations include Meridian, Mississippi, Agana, Guam, Mayport, Florida, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, Coronado, California, and Point Mugu, California where he retired. He deployed several times to the South China Sea in support of various maritime operations on-board the USS Essex, USS Swift, USS Vandergrift, USS Howard, and USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Bryon Buzan

Lieutenant Colonel Bryon Buzan has served in the US Air Force for 24 years in Satellite Control Operations, Logistics, Cyber Network Operations, Cyber security, and war fighter communications. He enlisted in the Air Force after graduating Mountain View High School in 1999. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he became an officer in 2004. Lieutenant Colonel Buzan commanded twice at the battalion levels within Joint Spec. Operations to deliver tactical-edge command and control and on-the-move communications for maneuver forces. He served 2 assignments on headquarters staff: 1st within Air Force Space Command in Sr Leader Mgt & 2nd, at US Cyber Command as Branch Chief for Global Plans. Lieutenant Colonel Buzan deployed 12 times supporting operations spanning Afghanistan, Northern Africa, the Middle East & Eastern Europe. For his Sr Development Ed., Lieutenant Colonel Buzan is collaborating with Shell Oil & Gas in Houston, TX until June 2024. He originally hails from AZ where he met his high school sweetheart and wife. They have 4 children.

Janell Chmielewski

Sergeant Janell Chmielewski (formally Somers) served as a medical records specialist from 1986-1991. Her service term was extended for Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm. Her service is enshrined in the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington VA.

Gene Crego

Gunnery Sergeant (E-7) Gene Crego was active-duty USMC from 1967 to August 1989. He served in Vietnam from January 8, 1968, to March 9, 1970. Crego retired with the rank of Gunnery Sergeant (E-7) at MCAGCC 29 Palms, California.
He served at III MAF Headquarters, H & S Co., Security/Club System DaNang, So.Vietnam, El Toro MCAS Santa Ana, CA., Kaneohe MCAS, Kaneohe, Hawaii, MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, MCLB Barstow, CA., MCB Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Gene moved to Mesa, Arizona July 1990. Since retiring from the military, Gene has continued his exemplary service to the community as a Veterans Advocate in Arizona since 2006. He is a life member of the American Legion, DAV, VFW, 1St Marine Div. Assoc.,
Marine Corps League, Vietnam Veterans of America.
He was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame in 2017, VVA AZ State Council President 2012 to 2020, AZ Department of Veterans’ Services Veterans Advisory Commission 2019 to 2024, Unified Arizona Veterans BOD 2012 to 2024, and UAV Chair 2023.

D-G  [Top]

Michelle Davis

Lieutenant Michelle Davis served in the US Navy from 1980 to 1984.

Michelle served as a Charge Nurse on a premier surgical floor at Bethesda Naval Hospital.


Lewis (Frank) DeCurtis

Lance Corporal Lewis “Frank” Decurtis was from New York when enlisted.

Lance Corporal Decurtis then performed his boot camp in Paris Island. He belongs to the Marine Corps League here in Mesa.

Louis DiBona

Sergeant Louis DiBona proudly served in the U.S. Army from 1973 to 1974.

Sergeant DiBona completed his basic training at Fort Leavenworth.

He worked in the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, which was the military prison where military prisoners who were court martialed did their sentence.

Dwight Doane

CW4 Dwight Doane served with distinction and is a disabled veteran.

Dwight served in Korea, El Salvador, Egypt, England, and Germany. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for logistics support for the First Calvary Division deployment to the first Gulf War combat division.

Bernie Domsky

Bernie Domsky was on Patrol Craft 875 ship. He left South Carolina and exited the Panama Canal and out to Holandia Harbour Nugene. Philippines were securing at that time, and we were attached to Philippines Sea Frontier and assisted in the liberation of the Philippines from Japan. Bernie was reunited with his brother in the canal zone and docked in the same base outside of Cologne. They were allowed one liberty together then parted ways. Both survived and once again came home their mother and father in DC. Bernie survived two Typhoons during the war and another after while completing his service in the navy during peace time after the atomic bomb ended the war.

Jack Dooley

First Class Sergeant Jack Dooley served during the Vietnam War.

Sergeant Dooley also served in the motor pool and Admin Company for the US Army and National Guard.

Tom Eisiminger

Lieutenant Colonel Tom Eisiminger enlisted in the US Army Reserves while still in High School. He subsequently attended the US Military Academy at West Point graduating in 1984. He served an additional 21 years prior to retiring from the Army in 2005. Tom comes from a long line of Soldiers: his father was a Vietnam Veteran, his grandfather was killed-in-action during WWII, and he can trace 12 Revolutionary War Patriots in his direct line.

Nancy Fassbender

Nancy was a Specialist 4 and was a helicopter mechanic working on Hueys. She was studying to be a Crew Chief when she was injured.

Since her service in the military, Nancy has continued selfless service to the community: She is an author of “My Fallen Hero”.
She is an honorary member of East Valley x-POW Chapter. Nancy also an honorary member with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 2560.
In 2020, she was inducted into the Veterans Hall of Fame Society. Only one tenth of 1% of Veterans in Arizona has received this high honor. She has served as secretary and director to the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society Board.

She has partnered with the Dept of Defense – 50th Vietnam War Commemoration where she has planned and organized over 70 events thanking Vietnam Veterans. She has made it her mission to thank Vietnam Veterans and welcome them home.
In 2021, Nancy organized Wreaths Across America for the Mountain View Cemetery in Mesa.

Richard Forkner

Sergeant Richard Forkner served in England and Germany during and after World War II. P-47 Crew Chief.

Al Funderburk
Brendon Gaffney

Sergeant Brendon Gaffney has served in the U.S. Army from 2019 to present time.

During his service, Brendon has served as Military Police

Jonathan Graves

Sergeant Jonathan Graves served in the U.S. Army from 2011 – 2021.

Sergeant Graves serves 3 volunteered tours alongside the 3rd Infantry Division, the Big Red 1, and 82nd Airborne. Main unit served was the 1/158th Infantry Batallion Bushmasters.

Fernando Guerrero

Fernando Guerrero was born and raised in Mesa. He attended and graduated from Mesa High School and Arizona State University.

He served in the US Army during the Korean Conflict as a CIC Special Agent at Fort Amador- Panama Canal Zone.

After his service he returned to Mesa to help his father in the family business – Guerrero Lindsey Sign Company.

Throughout his life he was active within the community as a member of the Mesa Jaycees, Mesa Baseline Rotary, and the Mesa Hohokams. He served terms in each organization as President.

He passed away on December 12, 2020 “

H-L  [Top]

Valentine Hernandez

Valentine “Val” David Hernandez was born September 16, 1943, to Ramon and Maria Hernandez, in Mesa, Arizona.

Val grew up in Mesa, working on and servicing his father’s diesel trucks with his brothers while creating and modifying his own cars. Summers were spent with cousins and brothers bailing hay and enjoying the local sock hops.

Val graduated from Mesa High School (1961) and completed his academic career with a Bachelor’s in Art from Arizona State University in 1970. During his senior year at ASU, Val enlisted in the Army and served his country honorably through the Vietnam Era.

He attended Boot camp at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas and was then assigned to air defense at Fort Lawton in Seattle, Washington. During the Vietnam Era, he did air defense missile detection in Korea.

Val served under the Army’s Field Artillery Branch, on a crew for the 109MA2 Howitzer at Ft. Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Val was proud to have served and loved his country.

Jim Hoover

Corporal Jim Hoover served in the U.S. Marines from 1985 to 1989.

Scott Houghton

Scott Houghton served with the U.S. Marines from 1981 to 1985.

Xena Hoye

Xena Hoye served on the U.S. Air Force from 2016 to present.

Xena is a single mom, works two jobs, deployed and worked in the EOC/ refugee hangars for the world’s largest humanitarian airlift– Operation Allied Refuge.

She does Emergency management, safety, and CBRN.

Charles Imberg

Chuck joined the Army and was stationed with the Army’s 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment “”Blackhawks”” 1st Armored Division.

In August 1967, Chuck was deployed to Vietnam. Chuck was stations at a landing zone (LZ) nicknamed “”Fat City”” which was about 56 kilometers NW of Chu Lai or about 59 kilometers South of Da Nang. Chuck worked as a track & wheeled vehicle mechanic.

In February 1968, Chuck was injured by small arms fire and was air evacuated to Da Nang to be stabilized before moving him to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Chuck spent the next six months in Hawaii where he received medical and rehab treatments.

Chuck then moved state side to Irwin Army Hospital Ft Riley, Kansas. In January 1969, he was medically discharged and placed on disability or retired list.

Chuck received the following recognitions: National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Overseas Service Bar, and Sharpshooter (Rifle).

He resides in Mesa with his wife Diane.

John Jabjiniak

John Jabjiniak enlisted in the US Army Air Corp in January 1942.

He was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force in March 1944 at Freeman Field, Indiana with a Multi-Engine Land (MEL) pilot rating.

He continued to Chanute Field in Champaigne, Illinois for B-17 training and onto B-24 training. John became an instructor for co-pilots and trained gunnery students at Buckingham Field in Florida.

After logging 1000 flying hours in FL, he was sent to Lowry Field in Denver, Colorado. There he was training to fly the B-29s and putting a crew together for South Pacific Duty when the war ended in 1945. He also assisted in engineering runways and served in the Philippines until his honorable discharge in 1946.

His love of planes never ended, and he visited the “Flying Fortresses” whenever they made an appearance close to his hometown. As a WWII veteran, he spoke at various schools of his war-time experiences while sharing photos and memorabilia with many friends and family members.

Lieutenant Jabjiniak married his longtime sweetheart in 1944 and was the father of five children.

John J. Jabjiniak

John J. Jabjiniak was a Specialist 4 in the US Army from 1963 to July of 1967 during the Vietnam War.

He served with the 1st Air Cavalry throughout the Pleiku Highlands in locations near Da Nang, An Khe and Saigon.

His civilian experience as a veterinarian tech allowed him to specialize in training, handling and caring for Military Working Dogs, mostly German Shepherds. These dogs were widely used to alert troops to the dangers of snipers, weapons, and enemy fighters as well as scouting and sentry duties in the jungle and tunnels.

SPC Jabjiniak was lucky enough to bring home one of his charges, a hero Shepherd named “Samson” when he was honorably discharged in 1967.

He was the recipient of the Army’s expert shooting badge with sharpshooter qualification for machine guns.

Jermaine James

E-4 Specialist Jermaine James served in the U.S. Army from 2009 to 2012. Jermaine was a tank crew gunner, served in Iraq Korea, and Kuwait. His last station was 400 Fort Hood, Texas.

Floyd Jaramillo

E-4 Specialist Floyd Jaramillo served honorably and was deployed during his years of service.

He trained in reconnaissance. Floyd served in unit the Big Red One.

Daniel Jensen

Daniel Jensen served on the U.S. Coast Guard from 1981 to 1996.

Daniel was a Helicopter Rescue Swimmer. After 10 years, he was transferred into a Telecommunications job due to nerve damage.

Daniel accepted early retirement in 1996. He is a Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Jason Jensen

Jason Jensen is first and foremost a family man with a wife and four kids, one with autism.

He served the Army National Guard in Utah and retired from the Arizona National Guard.

He served a tour in Iraq and was in a humvee explosion losing a fellow soldier.

Jason would help anyone and give the shirt off of his back to anyone in need.

Alma B. Judd

Alma B. Judd served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.

He shared with his children that he cut other soldiers’ hair during the war and would type correspondence for his superiors.

A few years later he worked for the Public Health Service.

Rick Kreiberg

Rick is a Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who served for 35 years, from 1983 to 2018.

Rick deployed to Iraq, Philippines, Korea, Airborne, paratrooper, recruiter, instructor, awarded Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, numerous meritorious medals.

Rick has continued to serve the community as the CEO for Veterans Affinity, an organization that helps our senior veterans with care they deserved, from housing, healthcare, and benefits like no other veterans’ advocate. He saw the need to assist senior veterans and has been a superstar in the community assisting those heroes. No one has a heart and makes a difference to our senior veteran heroes like Rick does!”

Colter Lane

Colter Lane was raised in Mesa, AZ. Following college, Colter returned home where he married Olivia, who is a nurse at Banner Hospital. Colter and Olivia are expecting their first baby this summer.

Colter currently serves as a Captain, United States Army (R) Military Intelligence. Colter served as Company Commander of the Military Intelligence company at Papago and has served several active-duty assignments for special operations in the Global War on Terrorism.

In 2022 to 2023, Colter served a 13-month overseas combat deployment with the Combined Special Operations Joint Task Force-LEVANT. Colter received the JOINT SERVICE COMMENDATION MEDAL for “”exceptionally meritorious service”” during this deployment.

Colter serves his hometown as a Mesa Police Officer where he has received the Police Medal of Distinction.

Colter also served as a volunteer Search and Rescue Technician/Emergency Medical Technician where he received two lifesaving awards. “

Janice Lare

Janice Lare served in the U.S. Navy from 1989 to 2002.

Janice received the Navy Good Conduct Medal and NDSM (Persian Gulf War Era). Her unit was HSL-43 Battle Cats.

She participated in squadrons volunteering with special Olympics.

Billy Long

SPC Billy Long served in the U.S. Army from 2007 to 2011.

He served as a member of 2nd Ranger Battalion 75th Infantry Regiment.

M-Q  [Top]

Mike Madril

Mike Vega Madril is a 92-year-old veteran of the Korean War. He served on two ships, the USS Blue and the USS Silverstein DE-534.

In 1955, before his Honorable Discharge, he and his shipmates participated in OPERATION WIGWAM. This was an underwater atomic test.

During his service in the Navy, he earned the following: National Defense Service Medal; Good Conduct Medal; China Service Medal; Korean Service Medal and United Nations Service Medal.

He also owned his own barber shop in downtown Mesa. The shop was located at 5 South Morris and was in business for over 40 years. He and his wife Gloria Armenta Madril had 5 children born and raised in Mesa, all of which graduated from Mesa High School.

Derrick Marble

Corporal Derrick Marble deployed to Iraq and served 4 years honorably in the U.S. Marines, from 2003 to 2007.

Lucas Massey

Lucas graduated from Mesa High School in 2019. He was a member of the JROTC at Mesa High School.

He joined the US Army and received Basic Training and Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Benning, Gorgia. He and one other soldier were selected to receive advanced Jungle training in Hawaii where he is currently stationed.

Lucas has received the Army Achievement Medal for outstanding achievement in his training and wears the prestigious Jungle patch.

Mark McKearn

Colonel Mark McKearn was an Army Aviation officer that spent a full career in service.

His service includes Afghanistan, Korea, Germany, Ft. Ord, CA, Ft. Hood (now Cavazos), TX, Ft. Riley, KS, Ft. Leavenworth, KS, Ft. Campbell, KY, Hawaii, Carlisle Barracks, PA, and The Pentagon.

He is now a growth strategist who builds and facilitates high performing CEO peer groups and teams.

Skylor McLaren

Sergeant (E-5) Skylor McLaren is currently serving in the U.S. Army, since 2018. His Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is in Cyber.

Skylor has lived in AZ since 1994.

John E. McLaughlin

Lieutenant Colonel John E. McLaughlin. Career service member served over 26 years started as enlisted and later became an officer. He retired and lived in Mesa AZ until he recently lost his wife. As a long time Mesa resident he was active in his church and community. He now lives with his daughter in Gold Canyon.

John was stationed in Berlin, Germany, working in Communications for Operation Vittles (Berlin Airlift).

He flew B52 bombers as Electronics Warfare Officer out of Bergstrom AFB in Texas during the Bay of Pigs invasion. John was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for his service in 1959 to 1963.

John was also assigned to Strategic Air Command out of Offutt AFB in Nebraska, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for 1967 to 1968, and Bronze Star for 1970 to 1972 at Korea HQ in Seoul.

Serving the United Nations Command, Intelligence Division, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for 1973 to 1974.

Philip McLaughlin

Phil is a graduate of Mountain View High School in Mesa, as well as the United States Naval Academy.

He served in the submarine service as an officer for 26 years and ultimately commanded two submarines, USS Connecticut SSN 22 and USS Michigan SSGN727G.

He returned to Mesa with his wife – who is also a Mountain View graduate – and his children after retiring in 2012.

He’s the son of John E. McLaughlin and Kay McLaughlin.

Manuel Mendoza


Manuel Mendoza was born in Miami, Arizona, June 15, 1922.

Mendoza entered the U.S. Army at Fort MacArthur, California, November 1942. He served in both WWII and Korea.

Staff Sergeant Manuel Mendoza was then recognized for his actions on October 4, 1944, in Mt. Battaglia, Italy, where he was credited with single-handedly breaking up a German counterattack.

Mendoza was nicknamed the “Arizona Kid” for his actions in combat. Following his Army career, Mendoza found employment as a foreman at one of the largest nuclear plants in the country. He passed away at age 79.

Mendoza received the Medal of Honor, March 18, 2014; Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with five Bronze Service Stars, Presidential Unit Citation with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge (Second Award), Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II, United Nations Service Medal, Republic of Korea Korean War Service Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, and the Italian Cross for Merit of War Unit Citation.

Nanette Molina

Sergeant Nanette Speth Molina was the last of the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) graduating class in September 1978 at Fort McClellan Alabama.

Her Military occupational specialty (MOS) was 05K Non-Morse Intercept Operator, Military Intelligence.

Nanette was stationed in West Berlin, Germany and at the NSA Fort Meade in Maryland.

Samuel Morales

Samuel Morales was an Army Specialist in Vietnam. He served in a Hawk Missile battalion in the 71st Artillery from 1965 – 1968. Samuel was in charge of operating and maintaining diesel generators which supplied power to the Hawk missiles and radar installations.

After being honorably discharged, he got married and moved to Mesa in 1971.

Samuel was a professional baker and owned a bakery in the 1970’s called The Dutch Bake Shop in the Westwood Plaza on the Northwest corner of Alma School & University before eventually going to work for Bashas’, where he retired from.

Unfortunately, Samuel passed away in 2021, but was always proud of his service in the Army and to our country.

Alvin Lee Moser

Alvin was born in Arkansas and moved to Maimi, Arizona in 1956 where he met and fell in love with Joyce. They were young and in love!

Alvin Lee Moser joined the Navy to better himself for he and his wife Joyce Moser as they were expecting the first of three children.

After marrying Joyce he went on to basic training San Diego, eventually heading to Vietnam. Alvin served in the U.S. Navy from 1957 to 1978.

Alexander Mosier

Alexander Mosier served onboard the USS Fletcher DD-992 based out of Pearl Harbor.

He served alongside his Shipmate, Friend, and Fellow Veteran, Dawn Drake, who nominated him for this year’s banner program.
20 years later we still have a bond that is for life. He inspires me daily and deserves to be spotlighted for his unending service to this country. Thank you.

Andrew Napoleon

Sergeant Andrew Napoleon served in the U.S. Marines from 1988 to 1998

Andrew is a U.S. Marine Gulf Veteran of over 10-years and is married with 7-children.

He is currently a proud Mesa business owner, whose business is both family-owned and operated.


Stacey O’Dell

Stacey O’Dell served in the U.S. Navy right after high school from 2004 to 2010.

Stacey was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma for six years as a Radioman for Nuclear Communications.

She received a master’s degree in Crime Analysis.

She is a disabled veteran with epilepsy.

Kevin O’Neill

Kevin is a Vietnam Era veteran.

Campaign ribbons awarded to Kevin include the Battle Efficiency Ribbon, USS Tripoli (LPH-10) June 30, 1977, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with star, USS Tripoli (LPH-10), for his nearly five years on USS Tripoli (LPH-10).

During this time, he served on 5 Pacific Tours throughout Aisa.

Kevin’s enlistment for active service term was extended for 24 months on January 16, 1979. The extension of service was at the request and for the convenience of the Government.

Subsequently, Kevin received an honorable discharge.

Lawrence O’Neill

Lawrence O’Neill served in the U.S. Army from 1961 to 1964.

During his service, Lawrence was stationed at Sandia Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico for two and half years as an ordinance Supply Specialist.

Roger Parrish

Roger was an amazing fighter pilot winning several Top Gun awards. He became the only two-time leader of the USAF Thunderbirds (F-4 and T-38).

Colonel Parrish’s Air Force career was extraordinary.

He was inducted into the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame.

Colonel Parrish was the Arizona Stearman Squadron Standards or Eval officer as well as, earlier, the same with the Lafayette Escadrille d’Arizona.

After retiring from the USAF, he later retired from America West Airlines.

The following is a story about Colonel Parrish from the Vietnam Air War:

Patrick Phillips II

Patrick Phillips II served in the U.S. Navy from 2004 to 2009.

During his Service, Patrick was an Aviation Boatswains Mate (Handler).

Delores Podhorn

LTC Delores Podhorn served in the capacity of 66H Medical Surgical Nurse, 66A Nurse Administrator and 66B Community Health Nurse. She was assigned to HQ, 801st, General Hospital, Chicago, IL FORSCOM FC Ft. Sheridan, Illinois.

LTC Podhorn taught the medic program to reservists and supervised them in local Chicago hospitals. She would be flown via helicopter to various reserve units to administer various vaccines.

LTC Podhorn would provide medical support for reserve troops during their annual training.

She received active-duty orders for the Active Guard Reserve program. to obtain further medical training for medics namely the Licensed Practical Nurse program She completed the Command and General Staff course, the Advanced Nurses Corp Officer course and Combat Training course.

James Pomush

James Pomush proudly served in the U.S. Marines from 1965 to 1969.

Jim is a Purple Heart recipient, a recognition he received during combat duty in Vietnam.

Jim is a remarkable man, very much a charitable and involved Mesa citizen. He is the definition of altruistic and philanthropic, donating his personal time to advising new military recruits and visiting with current and former veterans, with particular empathy for wounded warriors.

He is a longtime member of the Mesa Hohokam organization also, along with the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart organization.

Jim donates numerous service hours at Spring Training games and various ROTC and military events.
If he was down to his last dime, he’d make sure to give you a quarter!

Shawn Quist

Shawn Quist served in the U.S. Marines from 2008 to 2012 with 2 deployments in an infantry unit with 2/7 echo company.

During his last deployment, Shawn was injured, hurting his knee among other injuries.

He served his country and was granted an honorable discharge.

R-T  [Top]

Diego Ramirez

Corporal Diego Ramirez was active-duty Marine Corps from 2015 to 2019.

He was stationed in Japan MWSS-172
Army Reserves from 2019 to 2022.

Glen Ramsey

Ernest Glen Ramsey served in the Army from 1969 to 1972. He served in Germany in Tanks and Vietnam in Helicopters.

Glen later joined the Phoenix, Arizona National Guard and was 1st SGT of Aviation Attack Helicopter Regimen Headquarter Company.

He was selected as 385th Aviation Group NCO of the Year 1994 for Arizona SSG Ernest “Glen” Ramsey”. He also received The Sylvester Herrera Trophy Most Outstanding Noncommissioned Officer during the training year 1994.

Glen retired from the AZ National Guard in 2016 with over 28 years of service to his country.

Nancy Riley

Sergeant Nancy Riley served in the U.S. Air Force from 1966 to 1969.

She served as Dorm Chief during basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. While in Texas, Nancy also attended tech school at Amarillo Air Force Base.

Nancy then completed base OJT at March Air Force Base in Riverside, CA, where she was named WAF of the Year by the Community Center and scored in the 95th percentile on the Skills Knowledge Test, which was required for promotion.

Sergeant Riley’s service journey also included Office of Space Systems at the Pentagon.

At discharge, Nancy’s rank was Sergeant.

Frank Romano

Chief Major Sergeant (CMSGT) Frank Romano served in the U.S. Air Force, from 1956 to 1998.

Frank served all over the world protecting our freedom.

Cindy Rosenberg

Cindy Rosenberg served active-duty Air Force during Desert Storm and then Air National Guard. Her service began in 1989 and ended in 1993.

Cindy continues to serve her community in the healthcare field, continually making a difference in the lives of many.

Melvin Rudd

Melvin Rudd Jr (known as MJ to those closer to him) proudly served in the Air Force for 23 years. Melvin served for the U.S. Air Force as a bomber pilot during World War II and flew B-17, B-24, B-36, C-54, AND B-52 aircraft.

On June 24, 1944, towards the end of WW II, his bomber was shot down on over the Ploesti oil fields during a mission in Romania. Melvin was first classified as MIA and later classified as a POW in Bulgaria under the Bulgarian Army from June 1944 to May 1945.

After retiring from the Air Force, he attended ASU where he received his master’s in education. He taught high school math and electronics for MPS for over 15 years. He has 6 children, 32 grandkids, 112 great grandkids and 3 great-great grandkids.

Melvin passed away in 2004 and this year marks his 20th anniversary of his death. He lived in Arizona from approximately 1961 and is buried in the Mesa Cemetery.

Melvin’s dedication to this country is nothing short of extraordinary. He will be remembered as an incredibly heroic man by his country, his community, and his loving family (the Rudd family), who proudly dedicate this banner to him this year. His service to this country is one to be remembered for generations to come.


David Sale

Dave entered the Army as a Warrant Officer in a program call high school to flight school.

He served 2 tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot and was offered a direct commission to First Lieutenant. During his career, he was able to complete his BS degree and also his master’s degree.

He continued on flight status until he retired in 1993 and accepted a job at McDonnell Douglas which later became Boeing.

He retired in 2010 from Boeing and then went on to start up a non-profit -The Southwest Heritage Foundation which is an organized that restores Vietnam helicopters to their original condition, now flying both the Huey and Cobra in Mesa’s Falcon Field. Membership in this organization is now 300+. He served as president for 5 years but is still actively involved in their activities.

Keith Sampson

Keith Sampson trained as an inventory management specialist.

Keith was stationed at Travis Air Force base. He was then stationed at Peshawar Pakistan for nine months.

George Scott

George Scott was stationed aboard USS Van Voorhis which was a destroyer.

He was responsible for maintaining the guns on the ship. This ship was on submarine patrol in the Atlantic.

Wayne L. Scriba

Wayne L Scriba entered the Navy on March 21, 1951, with a buddy from school in Iowa so when the Army came to his home to draft him, he was out of reach!

He worked on the airplane radios on the aircraft carrier, the Philippines Sea during the Korean War. He did 1 year and 3 months of foreign and/or sea service and had some interesting stories to tell. This includes a time when he and a buddy were doing shore patrol in Singapore and their ship forgot to pick them up until they found they were missing at roll call.

Wayne received the following service ribbons: National Defense, Korean Service, UN, China Service, Good Conduct, Navy Occupation European Clasp, and Navy Unit Commendation (NUC).

Before discharge he was recommended for re-enlistment. Wayne’s final rank was Aviation Electronics technician Second Class (AT2–appointed November 16, 1953) before he was honorably discharged on March 17, 1955. He then joined the Naval Reserves at Great Lakes. Wayne was then honorably discharged again on July 29, 1962.

Kadon Shelley

Kadon is a 2016 graduate of Mesa High School and is a proud Jack Rabbit.

He enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2018 and has served two tours in the Middle East since then.

When at home, Kadon is an Honor Guard team member for Army Veterans funerals.

Scott Somers

SrA Somers served as a Fire Protection Specialist from 1987-1991.


William Sorenson

Chief Warrant Officer 5 William Sorenson was a Combat Helicopter Pilot – Two Combat tours. Vietnam 1970 to 1971 as an AH-G Cobra Pilot with the 101st Airborne and Iraq in UH-60 Blackhawk with 7th Medical Command as a Medevac (Dustoff) pilot in 1990 and 1991 in Northern Iraq with the Kurdish Relief Effort.

Sorenson’s world-wide assignments include Aerial Rocket Artillery in Vietnam (1970-1971), 4/7 Cavalry Squadron in Korea (1978-1979); 421st Medical Battalion in Germany (1983-1991), and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe as Pilot to Supreme Allied Commander in Belgium (1991-1993).

His duties while on active duty include Safety Officer, Armament Officer, Standardization Officer, Instructor Pilot, Instrument Examiner, Tactical Operations Officer, and Electronic Warfare Officer.

William fielded two helicopters for the Army – the Cobra with the TOW missile system and the EH-1X Special Electronics aircraft.

While on active duty, William volunteered as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at military hospitals where he was stationed for 22 years and over 2,200 hours.

Daniel Stephensen

Daniel Stephensen, and his identical twin brother, David Stephensen, both enlisted into the USAF during the Vietnam Era draft. During those years, identical twins were kept together during their service. Both brothers were accomplished musicians but set music aside to serve in the military. They served their terms, received Honorable Discharges, and then both went on to have careers serving in Federal Employment – Dan with the USDA, and David as a Social Worker at the Carl T. Hayden Veteran’s Hospital.


David Stephensen

David Stephensen, and his identical twin brother, Daniel Stephensen, both enlisted into the USAF during the Vietnam Era draft. During those years, identical twins were kept together during their service. Both brothers were accomplished musicians but set music aside to serve in the military. They served their terms, received Honorable Discharges, and then both went on to have careers serving in Federal Employment – Dan with the USDA, and David as a Social Worker at the Carl T. Hayden Veteran’s Hospital.


Angela Tauscher

Angela served with the Army Reserves in a Combat Support Hospital (picture the show MASH) from 1998 to 2004.

Her classification was a Medical Supply Sergeant, also known as an E5 Sergeant. She ran a medical supply warehouse and drove a 5-ton truck.

Angela received orders for active duty for Operation Enduring Freedom after 911. While her unit was originally supposed to be in Iraq, they ended up serving stateside.

Donald Thorpe

Staff Sergeant Donald Thorpe was a very proud veteran.

He was active in many organizations including the Masons and First United Methodist Church and was always willing to help his children with boy scout and girl scout events.

He raised his 5 children in Mesa. He met Mildred, his wife, at the Nile Theater when he was stationed at Williams Air Force Base and Mildred was a cashier/usher at the Nile.

He worked at Motorola for 35+ years. He rests with his wife in the Mesa Cemetary.

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Louis Valdez

First Class Sergeant Louis Valdez entered Army 1968 after High School, where he became a paratrooper 82nd Airborne.

Louis served three years in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970, receiving the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.

He continued serving in the Army until 1983.

Eric Wagner

CPT Eric Wagner served 11 years in the Army as a Military Intelligence Officer.

He participated in ROTC in college and took an Active-Duty Commission upon graduation from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Eric’s first assignment was with the 11th ADA Brigade, 2/7 Patriot Missile Battalion out of Fort Bliss, TX. He served in the first Gulf War; Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Shaun Ward

Shaun’s unwavering commitment and love to his country is evident through his service in the U.S. Army, where his dedication was on display during his two deployments to Afghanistan.

Shaun’s devotion extends beyond the battlefield; he embodies the spirit of service in his local community as a dedicated member and group leader of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce.

His patriotism and passion for serving are what make Shaun a standout individual. Shaun represents the best of us, reflecting the love he has for his country in his continued efforts to lead and uplift those around him.

Cyril Weidner

Cyril Weidner served during WWII on the USS Cheleb, a supply ship, from early ’44 – right after the war was over. He served primarily in the Pacific Theater.

He used his GI Bill to take flight lessons and became a private plane pilot, flying primarily out of Falcon Field and Kingman airport and flying medical ambulance and tours through the Grand Canyon.

His career after WWII included 30 years as a Ford garage mechanic.

He resided in Nebraska and Wyoming much of his life moving to Mesa, AZ in the 70’s where he lived the remainder of his life

He passed away at 95 years in 2018. Many days in the last decade of his life were spent alongside his granddaughter Wendy at Falcon Field or Mesa Gateway watching planes take off and land, while sharing stories.

Douglas White

Second Class Petty Officer Douglas White served in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1974.

Douglas served on the USS Bausell as a Fire control technician.

He also served on the USS Frank Knox in the same capacity.

Belinda White

Belinda served in the Desert Shield/Desert Storm War overseas in Bahrain.

She was part of the first operational field hospital set up during the war. As an Operating Room Specialist, she was part of the field hospital team that helped wounded soldiers from the battlefield.

During her time there she subjected to a war-time environment that consisted of scud missiles, oil well fires, and other battlefield conditions that left her 90% disabled.

Belinda continues to demonstrate an admirable resilience by not allowing her disability to prevent her from continuing to help the community. She is currently a school nurse at Desert Ridge Junior High School in Mesa.

Daniel Ybarra

Daniel Ybarra served in the army National Guard for 33 years.

Daniel has been to Korea and Germany. He went to Desert storm.

He is currently 74 years old and still lights up when people talk about his years in the service.

Daniel is a proud service man.