Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society

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The Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society has been honoring veterans who make significant contributions after their military service since 2001. U.S. Army Retired Colonel Chuck Schluter will tell us all about the organization.

Ted Simons: The Hall of Fame society honors Veterans in the state for their contributions after the military service, and here to tell us more is retired army colonel Chuck Schluter. Good to have you.

Chuck Schluter: Thank you very much.

Ted Simons: What is the Arizona Veteran's Hall of Fame?

Chuck Schluter: It was created to recognize Veterans after they completed their military service. Those who were contributing to their communities and helping other Veterans and, and all in all, making sure that Veterans' activities were participated in and supported.

Ted Simons: Are there specific qualifications for nominations? How does that work?

Chuck Schluter: All Arizona Veterans are eligible to be inducted or, I should say, eligible to be nominated. There are about 650,000 Veterans in Arizona. Each year, the unified Arizona Veterans receives about 75 nominations, and there is a screening process. They select between 20 to 25 Veterans each year. That list is then sent to the Governor's office for vetting and approval, and it's returned. The last Friday in October of every year we have a very nice induction ceremony.

Ted Simons: And this latest ceremony included Pat Tillman, inducted this year?

Chuck Schluter: It did. Pat Tillman, very special individual, I know that this will air on Veteran's day. Today is pat Tillman's 38th birthday, and his wife is an incredible individual, also. I think that he was a role model for an entire generation right after 9/11, his self-sacrifices are immeasurable, and in his name and legacy, the pat Tillman foundation has continued on. They are supporting students in over 98 institutions across the United States, and they have contributed over $6 million to that education. Their goal, similar to ours, is lofty, but they want to educate the next generation of leaders in business, education, science, technology, and they are doing it.

Ted Simons: Very good. I think some would be surprised that pat Tillman was not already inducted.

Chuck Schluter: That is the common answer, when we would nominate him. I would ask for an endorsement from a legislator or a politician or a prominent individual. They would, you know, say what do you mean he's not already inducted? Well, the -- sometimes it's a technicality. The Veteran's Hall of Fame is not a military Hall of Fame. It's for what did you do after military service. Now, there are precedents out there, Ira Hayes is, is a precedent for an individual who served his country honorably, did incredible things, and after service, faded away. Well, after service, pat Tillman didn't have the opportunity to fade away, and he was not able to do anything after service. But, he is an Arizona icon and we have Bridges named after him. Vfw, American legion post named after him, and every year, over 30,000 individuals run in the Pat's Run, that's, that's in April, and what probably you don't know is that across the globe, there are shadow runs with thousands more of people running in his honor.

Ted Simons: And I would say, with a Pat Tillman or Ira, maybe no opportunity or lesser chance to do something after the military service, but because of who they are, because of what they represent, what's being done in their name, that's impressive, isn't it?

Chuck Schluter: It is. It is very impressive, and other individuals who have been inducted who are still with us, they are every day folks who just left the service and went on with their career, whether it was in broadcasting or whatever, and they have got a fire in their belly and a tenaciousness about them that just caused them to rise above a few others and get recognized and get inducted. This past year, we inducted Dr. Michael Hawkins, and he was a judge. He realized that Veterans were going into courts. They were not always ready to face the judicial system. And he proposed a Veteran's court, and it's a nationally recognized program today, and Arizona is leading wait -- the way with Veteran's courts. Three of our members, who have judicial robes, if you will, serve as judges at those courts.

Ted Simons: It is incredible. And other names that we should mention, Frank Luke, Barry Goldwater, Ira Hayes, Chuck Schluter, congratulations to you, sir.

Chuck Schluter: It is an honor to serve with those people, and it is humbling.

Ted Simons: I would imagine it is. And as far as where the Hall of Fame is located, can I go to the Hall of Fame? Can you visit? How does that work?

Chuck Schluter: We don't have our own building. On December 7 this year, there will be an unveiling at the capital of the Arizona Veteran's Hall of Fame display. There will be plaques for every class from 2001 through 2014. There will be a center plaque depicting all of the medal of honor recipients and, and there is a, a descriptive plaque that talks about how the, the -- how it came to be and what it takes to get in and it will be a very nice display. It's going to cost us a couple of dollars, but it belongs in the capital human, and we'll be sure it gets there.

Ted Simons: Is there any thought of a standalone structure or facility? Or is that a bit down the road?

Chuck Schluter: That was entertained several years ago, and when you look into what it takes to open up a building, maintain it, air-condition it and heat it and secure it, we opted not to.

Ted Simons: Yeah. Ok. All right. Enough said there. And as far as the induction ceremonies are concerned, you mentioned pat Tillman. That must have been just an impressive occasion.

Chuck Schluter: Every time somebody is inducted, this was a, a sold-out crowd. Standing room only, if you will, and when a person gets inducted, it's, it's, it's routine that the family and friends stand and applaud. When pat Tillman was inducted, it was silence for a moment as a pat Tillman scholar stood up to accept on behalf of the Tillman foundation. A young graduate of ASU, air force Veteran. He stood up, and it was silent for a moment. And then the applause began, and it just was a wave across the room, and even the individuals who, being honored and inducted on the stage, then stood up and joined them. It was very -- that was humbling and wonderful and, and frankly, a good friend of mine, the host of the event, colonel Rob welsh, he had to reach for a glass of water to catch his breath, if you will.

Ted Simons: I would think so, very inspiring. I think -- the entire Veteran's Hall of Fame sounds like an inspiring endeavor. Congratulations to you for representing the Hall of Fame and continuing your service there. Thank you for all you have done for all of us, and thank you for appearing with us on this Veteran's day edition of Arizona Horizon. It was great having you.

Chuck Schluter: Our pleasure. Thanks for having us.

Ted Simons: Thank you very much.

Ted Simons: And Wednesday, on Arizona Horizon, a new survey of real estate professionals indicates that the commercial market is shaky, but improving. We'll see what that means. Crunch a few numbers, and have the latest at 5:30 and 10:00 on the next Arizona Horizon. That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons, and thank you very much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Chuck Schluter:Retired Colonel, U.S. Army;

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