Southern AZ YMCA to Honor Military Families

By Nannini, Loni | AZ Daily Star, October 11, 2016 | Go to article overview

Southern AZ YMCA to Honor Military Families


Nannini, Loni, AZ Daily Star


On Veteran's Day, The YMCA of Southern Arizona is staging a military ball that isn't only for service men and women: The Inaugural YMCA Community Military Ball offers an unprecedented opportunity for all Tucsonans to honor and support veterans and those currently serving in all branches of the armed forces.

"This event is a community military ball so it brings together civilians and the military, but it is in the true spirit and form of a military ball and will have some performance aspects of a military ball that a lot of civilians don't get to experience, which will be very special in its own right," said Priscilla Storm, a board member for the Lohse Family YMCA who masterminded the event after discovering the rich history of the YMCA's alliance with military forces.

Equally special is the opportunity to celebrate the many Southern Arizona service men and women from all five military branches--Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines--who have served, according to Storm.

To honor diverse service backgrounds during the event, the YMCA has selected a 2016 Council of Heroes: U.S. Air Force Major General John A. Almquist Jr.; U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Frank Michael Cadden; U.S. Marine Corps Captain Jon Trachta; U.S. Naval Reserve Commander Lynne Wood Dusenberry; U.S. Army Specialist Luis Fernando Parra; U.S. Army Reserve Sergeant Edmund G. Marquez; and U.S. Coast Guard Yeoman Third Class Max Mike Davis.

"We wanted a group that would be representative of the depth and breadth of service--not only high ranking officers, but members of the Reserves and enlisted officers and those who had seen active duty and those who had not," said Storm.

"When you enlist to serve you basically say, 'I am willing to give up my life for this position.' Most are not called to do that, but even as a Reservist you can get called up and you may not come home to your family. It is a different type of person who is willing to make that sacrifice and we want to come together as a community and acknowledge that with a collective level of appreciation for all branches of the military."

That acknowledgment means a great deal to Davis, 90, a World War II veteran who balked at the title of "Hero."

"I don't consider myself a hero. Personally I consider the heroes to be men that went ashore to fight in hand-to-hand combat in some of the world famous battles like Guadalcanal. I was on board a ship but I contributed in whatever ways I could. I considered myself a patriot and that was the reason I volunteered to go into the military," said Davis, who worked in antisubmarine warfare and freight transportation primarily in the South Pacific from 1943 to 1946.

Davis said he is humbled by the recognition and that like many young men at the time, he was simply doing "what had to be done."

"If we hadn't won World War II, we wouldn't have the world that we live in and the democracy that we have today. In my day-to-day activities, sometimes people come over and shake my hand and say, 'Thank you for your service,' and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that," Davis said.

Davis said it took the cooperation of all five military branches, as well as the Merchant Marines and the Seabees (United States Naval Construction Forces) to win the war. …

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