By Bette Sharpe – Glendale Daily Planet
Michael Murphy gets his beard trimmed by Philana. Rolf’s Solon sponsored the free hair- cuts.
The smile on this veteran’s face tells the story of just how important a good-looking haircut is. Saturday was hair day at the, at Glendale Community College.
Glendale’s seventh annual "Stand Up for Veterans” held at Glendale Community College, 6000 W. Olive Ave., Saturday, Sept. 21, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. This event offers multiple opportunities for veterans to access services tailored to their life experiences and needs, in a central location and has touched the lives of over 1,000 veterans since it began.
"I continue to be impressed with the success of this event, year over year. I am grateful the community continues to come together to assist our veterans and their families” said Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers who initiated the Glendale Stand Up event seven years ago.
Mayor Jerry P. Weiers along with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce’s Military & Veteran Affairs Committee (MVAC), actively coordinates and promotes the event. MVAC is a local committee that is made up of city, state and federal agencies, local businesses and nonprofit partners who organize and execute the events and initiatives that benefit veterans throughout the West Valley. The primary funding for the event was a grant from the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, administered by the Sandy Coor Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1433. With the full support of Glendale Community College and their willingness to accommodate the event, Veterans can receive a multitude of services in one centralized location.
A critical service available to veterans at the event is access to court and legal services. Glendale City Court Presiding Judge Elizabeth Finn will represent 23 Arizona municipal courts where veterans with criminal and civil cases may be able to satisfy outstanding court fines and fees by performing a community service work project. Veterans with active arrest warrants on criminal misdemeanors can have those warrants quashed. Judges from other Justice Courts in Maricopa County will also be present to offer similar opportunities to reduce or drop court fines through community service. Glendale’s Community Services Department supplied transportation from Glendale Community College to Historic Sahuaro Ranch Park, where the community work service project will take place.
"Someone with a suspended driver’s license is often prevented from securing appropriate employment. We can help change the dynamic by providing on-site community restitution benefiting the city of Glendale. Almost all the 23 city courts I represent, and the justice courts will honor our community service to eliminate fines allowing a person to obtain a driver’s license and hopefully a great job’//” said Judge Finn.
The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division was there Saturday to make recommendations to veterans about the requirements for reinstatement of their driving privileges and other MVD business. Additionally, Glendale’s Prosecutors Office and members of the State Bar of Arizona offered free consultations for civil matters while attorneys from the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office will be available for felony matters.
The Glendale Community College’s Veteran Services Center will be open during the event. The center provides veteran and military students and their families one-on-one help with enrolling in college and staying on the path of success. The VSC offers services including admissions, financial aid, advisement, career services, referrals and specific military-related resources.
"The annual Stand Up for Veterans is an important program and we are proud to partner with the city of Glendale. We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans which is why GCC is dedicated to serving those who have served us - through the Stand up for Veterans event, along with the assistance our Veterans Services Center provides, on a daily basis,” said Dr. Teresa Leyba Ruiz, President Glendale Community College.
According to a press release, at least 40 employers, presently hiring, would be on-site with representatives and interviewers and over 60 veterans service organizations were also available offering free information about their services. Veterans can apply for health care and other benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and social service agencies. The city of Glendale Community Action Program (CAP) was also in attendance as they regularly aid veterans in need. Nonprofit organizations often help with family and personal matters.
The always popular free haircuts for participants (and at least one beard trim) were courtesy of Rolfs Salon. Republic Services generously served lunch to all attendees in their trademark sanitation truck style barbecue grill.
By Tom Scanlon, Glendale Star Associate Editor
In wraparound sunglasses, a twisted goatee and black leather vest, the burly Bernie Kendall looks like a big, tough dude.
Until Robert “Tiny” Hogan rolls up.
Next to the hulking Hogan, tackle-sized, shave-headed, flowing Viking beard, Kendall almost looks like a high school kid.
On Saturday, Oct. 4, these two Harley-riding, vest-wearing members of the Veterans IV Veterans Motorcycle Association rallied up to Glendale.
They didn’t posse up at a bar, a greasy spoon or even a coffee joint.
They were hanging out at a rose garden.
It’s a healing thing.
Candy Sheperd was there at Glendale’s Sahuaro Ranch Park, helping bring her vision to reality, finally.
“Years ago, God put it on my heart that I need to start a healing garden for veterans,” said Sheperd.
Two decades ago, she and her husband Bill were founding members of the Rose Society of Glendale. They ran their healing garden idea up the flagpole with the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Glendale Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, Glendale Parks and Recreation and Mayor Jerry Weiers. Everyone thought it was an idea that should fly.
So Candy Sheperd called Tyler Francis of Litchfield Park’s Francis Roses.
The rose guru of the West Valley came through, big time.
“He brought a bus with a crew of 52 people in December,” Candy Sheperd said.
“They planted 1,587 roses in four hours.”
The plants should be booming and blooming in the fall. But this is more than just an aesthetic boost for a Glendale park.
The team behind the garden invites veterans to come to the garden, especially at 9 every Saturday morning, when members of the associations will be on hand to guide newcomers and show them how to help prune, tidy and grow the garden.
Or leave them to enjoy the garden in solitude, as the case may be.
“A healing garden is a place where veterans can come and meditate, be with other like veterans,” Candy Sheperd said.
She notes that the suicide rate among veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder is disturbingly high. And many veterans have a hard time “fitting in” when they leave the service.
“I wanted a place where they could meet, have a structured thing to do,” said Candy Sheperd. “They can come enjoy other veterans and have a mission.
“Being outdoors and gardening is healing.”
Tiny Hogan groaned at that.
“I joined the Army to get off the farm,” he growled, but with a grin.
Seriously, though, he’s not into gardening.
“I don’t like plants,” he said. “And they don’t like me.”
So what did he think when he heard about this healing rose garden?
“I was thinking I have a lot of people that would benefit from a place like this, where’s it’s a safe place,” he said.
He’s living proof you don’t have to be a rose buff to get something out of this garden.
“If they want to talk, they can. It’s a place to go. We have a lot of people that have a tough time leaving their houses,” said Hogan, a Desert Storm combat veteran who lives in Goodyear.
“There are days I don’t want to see nobody. Days I don’t like people.”
A few minutes later, Tiny Hogan had a rake in his hand and a smile on his face, as he helped prep the garden.
Kendall, a veteran of both the Army and Air Force who lives in Peoria, was crouched with a clipping tool in his hand.
“Combat veterans very often suffer from PTSD,” Kendall said. “With this garden, they can learn about roses, learn how to deadhead them, learn how to prune.
“It takes their mind off things. They can relax.”
Unlike his buddy Hogan, Kendall knows his way around a garden.
“I’ve always loved roses,” said Kendall.
Candy Sheperd believes that is what makes this place unique.
“There are a number of healing gardens around the country, but this will be the first one where roses are the primary focus,” she said.
“Most of the other healing gardens are vegetable gardens or plants.”
Though he’s not into most gardens, Hogan sized this one up and decided it was a good place to be.
“It’s kind of isolated,” he said. “It’s a comfortable place to come sit.
“It’s relaxing, to me.”
And he had an invitation for other veterans, who might struggle with the idea of being in a strange place around strangers:
“Just come and relax and watch.”
The Glendale Chamber of Commerce hosts the following October events:
Business Over Breakfast 7-9 a.m. Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at Dave & Buster’s, 9460 W. Hanna Drive.
Downtown Glendale Monthly Merchant and Stakeholder meeting 7:30-10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 at Off the Cuff, 5817 W. Glendale Ave.
Member Appreciation Night 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 at Gila River Areana – Vee Quiva, 15091 S. Komatke Lane.