2011 could not have finished on a more perfect note. Having the privilege to host Luke AFB in the Fiesta Bowl parade annually reminds us of how patriotic the United States is, and it is ALWAYS nice to be reminded of that with the challenging times our country has seen recently. FCP Blue Blazers and Ambassadors had the responsibility of handling the American Flag balloon in front of our Luke AFB Airmen. Luke’s group consisted of Brigadier General Jerry D. Harris, Commander of the 56th Fighter Wing, CMSgt Rory Wicks and Command Chief of the 56th Fighter Wing, 2 Luke Police Dogs, 2 Luke MP Squad units, 1 Hummer with a 20 caliber machine gun turret and approximately 100 Airmen marching within. The cheers heard as we walked along the parade route made me proud to be an American and a Luke AFB supporter. That is always the perfect experience to charge me up for another year of generating support for Luke AFB.
FCP also had the opportunity to work with an extremely talented group of professionals who have initiated what I believe to be one of the most meaningful events in Arizona. The Patriot All-American event, hosted by the Wigwam, features a field of 84 All-American Collegiate golfers from NCAA Div.1, Div.2, Div.3, NAIA and other qualifying categories. Most of the golfers in the field don’t get the opportunity to play in the NCAA National Championship for golf because it is a team-based championship, not individually based. These 84 incredibly skilled players now get the opportunity to tee it up against each other in a 3 day tournament on the Wigwam’s Gold Golf Course.
The Patriot’s golf committee has incorporated an unbelievable military support component to the event. Each player carries a golf bag donated by PING that has the name of a fallen or injured soldier from the state that they represent. These golf bags then get sent back to the respective college institution and raffled off to their boosters. The proceeds then go back to a national foundation called “The Folds of Honor” which supports the families of the fallen or injured. The vision and purpose of this event are so captivating that updates actually made ESPN’s Sportcenter each day…absolutely incredible.
The 84 Participants also had the opportunity to have dinner on Luke AFB inside a hanger with an F-16 there as a static display. General Harris and others addressed these young men so they understand the importance of Luke AFB and organizations like Folds of Honor. FCP played the role of “resource agent” for the Patriot All-American Event and assisted with the logistics involved. From the opening ceremonies to the trophy presentation, Luke AFB had a presence in an event that will undoubtedly achieve significant national exposure in years to come.
This is just another humbling reminder of the great purpose FCP represents and are thankful for the responsibility.