By Scottsdale Watchman
Every week, we hear tragic story after tragic story about our military veterans and the struggles they face when readjusting to civilian life. In one 2016 study, the Department of Veterans Affairs discovered that approximately 20 veterans committed suicide daily and that veterans accounted for 14 percent of all adult suicide deaths in the U.S. It’s also estimated that about 38,000 veterans across the country are without stable housing.
Scottsdale Vice Mayor Guy Phillips recently announced that he’s doing something about this national crisis and we’re proud to recognize him and his efforts. At the Scottsdale City Council’s February 12th Work Study Session, he recommended that the city pass an ordinance creating a Veterans Commission in Scottsdale.
Neither Vice Mayor Phillips nor other Scottsdale leaders are strangers to veterans’ causes. Last year, Vice Mayor Phillips spoke at four veteran tributes. Former councilman Bob Littlefield, whose wife Kathy is a current councilmember, is a Vietnam War veteran. As are City Treasurer Jeff Nichols and Planning Commission member Larry Kush. The latter received a Bronze Star Medal for his service.
A volunteer commission in Scottsdale would serve a variety of purposes. It would advise the city council on matters related to veterans, advocate and promote veteran services, obtain grants, and make recommendations to our elected officials on allocations to veterans’ organizations. Moreover, a Scottsdale Veterans Commission would organize veteran events, tributes and confer awards to our local veterans.
Such a commission is more important than ever for Scottsdale. WalletHub recently named Scottsdale the second-best city in the United States for veterans to live in because of indicators such as livability, affordability and veteran-friendliness and so our city’s veteran community is growing annually. Also, we don’t want Scottsdale to fall behind its neighbors. Both Tempe and Phoenix already have created military veterans commissions.
Scottsdale’s founder Winfield Scott was a U.S. Army chaplain. During the Civil War, he was wounded five times, twice almost fatally. Simply put, it’s impossible to separate Scottsdale’s identity from America’s military. Now, let’s further cement this identity and follow Vice Mayor Phillips’ recommendation that we create a commission honoring our nation’s greatest heroes.